One year ago,FinnishNews ran a story about how the Finnish Agriculture Minister, Mr. Leppä, was complaining that private label food cuts into famers’ income. Here is a quote from that FN article (08.05.2017):
“The reason he was complaining about private label products was because he claims that they have “reduced farmers’ income”.
It is almost pitiful for a farmer to complain about food prices in Finland, especially farmers who get to become ministers in the government. Can somebody explain how this minister has the time to sit in Parliament all week and travel a distance of 200 km each week to and from Helsinki from his country estate and avoid working the land that he owns and farms.
Like most wealthy farmers today, he has a nice new car and plenty of gleaming farm machinery, with a nice big house. The official records disclose that he has a huge 70 hectares of arable fields and undisclosed forest areas, which are probably at least as big as the fields. He also receives the 2nd largest EU farm handout of €100 000 each year.”
The proposed exit of the UK means that the EU budget must be reduced or the remaining net contributors to this budget should pay more. In any event the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is in urgent need of reform because it distorts the market operations of the farming sector.
Whatever the outcome of Brexit and the EU budget, the EU has started a process where they state that the farming subsidy under CAP should be cut and reformed.
Now the main newspapers are also pointing out that this “farm-owner minister” is complaining with a loud voice that Finland’s EU subsidy for farming should not be cut, implying that the situation for Finnish farmers is so difficult.
FinnishNews has pointed out 1 year ago that he is disqualified from entering into any negotiations with the EU on this matter because he personally receives some €100 000 each year in EU permitted farming subsidies. These subsidies are in fact a payment from Finnish taxpayers directly to him, and not from the EU; Finland is a net payer to the EU each year.
In an earlier decision, the Chancellor of Justice’s announced that there Minister is not disqualified in this case, but some may say that this does not appear to be a very convincing argument if a man can lobby hard to maintain the largest possible subsidy for himself while saying that he is “protecting the national interest” – again, do not forget that Finnish taxpayers are paying and not some foreign source.