(You can find the whole report at http://www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk/)

News release, 6th December 2002


 EU enlargement will bring ruin to rural communities across the
continent unless European agricultural policy is
 radically transformed, Green MEP Caroline Lucas has warned.

 "The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was designed to guarantee food
security and farmers' incomes within the EU
 against a backdrop of post-war rationing and food shortages. But it is
failing disastrously in today's very different
 circumstances," she said.

 "Farmers are being forced off the land in ever-increasing numbers even
within the EU. Over a million farmers from
 those eastern and central European nations due to join in 2004 are
expected to lose their livelihoods too. It is not
 enough to reform the CAP - instead its whole rationale of prioritizing
international competitiveness and open markets
 must be replaced by a new goal of increasing self-reliance."

 Dr Lucas' comments come in a discussion paper 'Look to the Local - A
Better Agriculture is Possible' - published
 ahead of next week's Copenhagen summit at which EU heads of state will
discuss proposals to reform the CAP ahead
 of enlargement.

 Look to the Local proposes the most radical overhaul of European
agriculture since the CAP was adopted a generation
 ago. Co-authored by Small and Family Farmers Alliance Chair Michael
Hart and leading localisation advocate Colin
 Hines, the paper calls for the EU to replace the CAP with a commitment
to promoting self-reliance, fair trade and rural
 economies - both within and outside its borders.

 Dr Lucas, vice-president of the European Parliament's Inquiry into last
year's disastrous Foot and Mouth epidemic and
 member of the Parliament's Trade Committee, said: "Latest NFU figures
show 67,000 UK farmers have been forced off
 the land in the last six years alone - and little wonder when Tesco
makes ten times more profit every hour than the
 average UK farmer earns in an entire year.

 "European agriculture needs a radical overhaul to place farmers at the
heart of the industry once more and contribute to
 improved food security worldwide. With EU enlargement just around the
corner there has never been a better
 opportunity to achieve this."

 The report sets out the key steps needed to achieve this, including:
 7 The introduction of national import controls of food, and domestic
quotas and farm prices to achieve self-reliance
 7 A reduction in profit margins for the hugely powerful supermarkets
and food processors
 7 The introduction of measures to address food poverty, including
improved social welfare and better access to
 reasonably priced, healthy food

 She concluded: "According to Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty
policy is driven by international competitiveness,
 not self-sufficiency - this sums up why CAP is failing farmers. For
European agricultural policy to improve conditions in
 an enlarged EU and to counter the effects of an increasingly globalised
world it needs a new 'big idea' at its heart.

 "Increasingly, farmers, environmentalists and economists are coming to
the conclusion that this big idea should be
 self-reliance - both within and beyond Europe's borders.