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Defra invites farmers’ views on EU membership

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have invited people with knowledge of the EU, farming and fishing industries to share their views on how the EU has affected the UK national interest

The move is part of the Government's Balance of Competences Review, an analysis of what EU membership means for the UK. The review is examining the scope of EU powers and the effects they have on the UK.

It is led by the Government in consultation with think-tanks, academia, businesses, Parliament, civil society and EU institutions. The aim is to improve public understanding of the nature of the UK's EU membership and contribute to the wider European debate about how to modernise, reform and improve the EU.

The Agriculture report will examine EU powers for the Common Agricultural Policy, plant health and forestry. The Fisheries report will examine EU powers for the Common Fisheries Policy, the management of fisheries and the farming of fish and shellfish.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:
We want to hear from people with direct experience of what our membership of the EU means in practice. Our farmers and fishermen are affected by it every day, so I'd like to know what they think. Anyone involved in agriculture, forestry or the fishing industry will have a view, as will the thousands of businesses linked to them. This is a real opportunity to inform the national debate on Europe.

The calls for evidence will run for twelve weeks from 21 October 2013 to 13 January 2014. The final reports will be published in summer 2014.

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