MEP calls for urgent financial support to help with EID

LIBERAL Democrat MEP George Lyon has called on the Scottish Government to provide financial support to farmers in a bid to help them comply with the EU’s controversial rules on EID in sheep.

The European Commission has said Member States can spend up to €7,500 per farmer to help comply with EID without them falling foul of state aid rules and already many European countries are providing support.

Mr Lyon said two regions in Italy are planning to spend €20.92 million on implementing EID while the Extremadura region in Spain is spending €2.6million, and France is planning to spend some €20.3 million to help farmers adapt.

He said: “Regional Governments across Europe are providing substantial financial assistance to their sheep farmers to set up EID.

“It is only right that Scottish farmers and crofters receive the same level of assistance to enable them to compete on a level playing field with other European sheep producers.

“It would be unfair, not to mention damaging for the industry, if our competitors receive Government support and our farmers do not.

NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren said Government support was going to be ‘critical’, in particular in establishing a central database.

He said the database should be ‘top of the priority list’, saying it would remove much of the cost and administrative burden likely to be placed on farmers when the rules come into force on January 1 next year.

He said: “The Commission have reminded us in meetings with them again today of the eligibility of rural development funds for EID implementation on the ground.  We need that explored in Scotland with urgency.”

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