As Lithuania seeks that direct payments to its farmers reach the EU-wide average level after 2020, Agriculture Minister Giedrius Surplys sees a gradual increase in these payments as realistic.
Giedrius Surplys
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"A gradual increase in direct payments is envisaged in the draft of the EU's post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy, too. I think it is realistic to expect direct payments to be increased," he said in an interview with the daily Lietuvos Žinios published on Thursday.

"It is difficult to say when exactly 90 percent of the EU average can be reached, because it is yet to be decided how exactly the EU budget will change after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU," he added.

The minister noted that Lithuanian farmers may also benefit from rural development programs, adding that farmers in the old member states receive very little support under these programs.

Surplys earlier this week attended an informal meeting of EU agriculture and fisheries ministers in Vienna, which focused on the bloc's agricultural funding after Brexit.

Lithuania, along with some other EU member states, seek to negotiate higher agricultural funding levels in the 2021-2027 period than these proposed by Brussels.

Surplys has told BNS that, based on the Commission's current proposal, Lithuanian farmers will receive 80 percent of the EU average in 2027.

Lithuanian farmers, who have been eligible for direct support and rural development funds under the CAP since the country's accession to the EU, say that lower direct payments have put them at a competitive disadvantage compared to their counterparts in Western Europe.

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