The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP or SLS) of the European Union is not some “dreadful thing” that Iceland should be concerned about, but a tool to achieve common goals, according to John Bensted-Smith, director of economic analysis, perspectives and evaluation within the agriculture division of the European Commission.
Farming in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“Those matters of concern that appear to be discussed the most in terms of agriculture in Iceland are matters that other countries are also concerned about,” Bensted-Smith said in an interview with Fréttabladid.
However, the CAP has proven flexible enough to be efficient for countries with as different forms of agriculture as Finland and Greece, Bensted-Smith stated, adding that the CAP’s purpose is certainly not to bankrupt Icelandic farmers or jeopardize the country’s food supply.
As a Brit, Bensted-Smith said he is well aware of the scary stories about the CAP that have been made up by those who oppose it. He also said that each time a new country has joined the EU, “acceptable solutions” on agriculture have been found and that the same would apply to Iceland.
Bensted-Smith is currently in Iceland along with Yves Madre, the agricultural representative of the French permanent committee for the EU in Brussels.
Both Bensted-Smith and Madre will speak at an open symposium on the impact of EU membership on agriculture, which begins today. It is organized by the University of Iceland Institute of International Affairs.
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