WELSH Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne today challenged the Welsh Government to ensure farmers in Wales receive the best possible outcome from reforms to Europe's Common Agricultural Policy.
Speaking after agreement was reached following lengthy negotiations in Luxembourg between MEPs, the European Commission, and EU farming ministers, Dr Swinburne called on ministers in Cardiff to ensure "smart implementation" of the new rules.
She said proposals for greater regional flexibility needed to be used to full advantage in the interests of the farming industry in Wales.
Dr Swinburne said: "This will allow the Welsh Government to ensure local decision making that suits the needs of Welsh farmers.
"The ball will soon be in the Welsh Agriculture Minister's court to ensure the best outcomes for Welsh farmers. We need to see smart implementation of the new rules. Regional flexibility needs to be used to Wales's advantage.
"During the reform negotiations Conservative MEPs have called for a more effective package for our farmers in Wales and across the United Kingdom. I am glad to see some progress has been made in key areas, and that the practical measures proposed recognise the environmental benefits of the largely grass based farms we have in Wales."
Dr Swinburne said while the agreement contained some improvements on the original policy, the overall package was a "mixed bag".
She added: "In terms of the four CAP files which were considered, I am broadly content with the outcome of Rural Development and Financing, but still have many concerns regarding Direct Payments which involves the Single Farm Payments to Welsh farmers. I am also concerned that in areas such as a common market organisation we look set to have even more red tape than ever."