EU's agricultural policy "not efficient": ECA president

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-19 23:42:15|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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VILNIUS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The current agricultural policy of the European Union (EU) is "not efficient," therefore it should be reformed, and the funds allocated to the agricultural sector should be linked to the results achieved, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, head of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), said here on Tuesday.

"We believe that the whole agricultural sector should be reformed in order to save money and use it more efficiently," Lehne was quoted as telling reporters during his first official visit here.

"We often support the agricultural industry as such, in principle, yet we don't support people who effectively cultivate the land and preserve the countryside for the future generations," the ECA chief noted.

During his visit, the EU's chief auditor met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

Grybauskaite underlined that Lithuania was not satisfied with the drastic cuts to EU funding suggested in the EU's new budget, therefore the Baltic country had asked for a transitional period.

"The funding assigned to Lithuania in the new multiannual financial framework is not fair, since it suggests drastic cuts to cohesion funds, and direct payments to farmers are still way behind the EU average, therefore Lithuania asks for a transitional period and gradual cuts in EU support," Grybauskaite was quoted as saying in a statement released by her office after her meeting with the ECA president.

Prime Minister Skvernelis said in a separate statement that as regards EU funding, Lithuania was seeking a balance "between traditional policies and new priorities."

"The quality of the final agreement on the multiannual EU budget is the most important for us, not the speed of the negotiations. The future funding of the cohesion and common agricultural policies and the financing of the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant are the most important issues for Lithuania," Skvernelis said.

The EU countries are currently negotiating the new multiannual financial framework for the 2021-2027 period.

The European Court of Auditors is the EU's independent external auditor. It is tasked with checking whether EU funds are raised, spent, achieve value for money and accounted for in accordance with the existing regulations.

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