A report commissioned by the European Parliament’s Greens/EFA party group is “another attack against Hungarian farmers,” the agriculture minister said on Thursday.
The report, published on February 25, criticised the farming systems of central and eastern European countries and the use of common agricultural policy (CAP) funds in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. It said the misuse of agricultural funds was wide-spread in all those countries, and called on the EU to take measures to improve transparency.
Agriculture Minister István Nagy said on Thursday that the report failed to consider “facts clearly showing the results of the government’s reform of the regulation on the ownership and support of farmland,” which he said Socialist-Liberal governments had put in place between 2002 and 2010 “to favour the corporate lobby.”
The Fidesz government amended the regulations to support small and midsize land owners, raising the size of farmland in the hands of small owners to 3.2 million hectares, or 61 percent of all Hungarian farmland, from 2.5 million hectares in 2010, Nagy said.
Hungary has one of the “strictest and most sophisticated” control mechanisms to control farming subsidies, regularly reviewed by the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors, he said.
At least 80 percent of the agriculture development funding goes to small and midsize farmers, Nagy said, adding that nearly 170,000 Hungarian farmers availed themselves of “hundreds of billions of forints” in EU funding every year.
Strengthening small and midsize farmers is the backbone of Hungarian agricultural policy, which “people actually making a living from farming appreciate”, Nagy said.
Featured photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI