Estonia wants for European Union agricultural supports to be equalised more quickly, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated today at the meeting of the European Union foreign and European affairs in Luxembourg, where the next EU financial framework (2014-2020) was discussed.
Paet said that in budget negotiations Estonia is supporting the joint proposal of the Baltic states in which they ask that direct supports be equalised more quickly, especially for the sake of those countries whose direct supports are far below the European Union average like the Baltic states. “This would ensure better grounds for competitiveness in a common market and make it possible to help out the countries with the smallest support,” Paet said.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, unequal agricultural supports distort the European Union’s common internal market. “Particularly during the current complicated time, it is essential that we abolish such distortion, as this will also help with economic growth,” he said. Paet added that agricultural supports for some member states are many times bigger than those for others and this situation is not justified.
Two other important topics for Estonia are the option of a higher cap for the percentage of GDP that can be received in cohesion policy funds and the eligibility of non-refunded VAT. “We would like for the 2.5% cap for cohesion policy funds to not apply to those countries that have been the most deeply affected by the economic crisis. Namely the countries whose economic growth from 2008-2010 was below the EU average,” the Estonian foreign minister explained. “When it comes to eligibility of non-refunded VAT, we support continuing with the same system from the previous period, in which VAT is an eligible expense for the public sector as well,” Paet added. These proposals have already been added to the negotiating box by the current EU presidency Denmark.
Paet said that Estonia supports the European Commission’s proposal regarding the general size of the budget and feels it is essential that the new financial framework focus on ensuring economic growth, increasing competitiveness, and creating jobs.
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
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