27 November 1998

Agenda 2000 protests

CONTINENTAL farmers are expected to take to the streets early next year, unless politicians improve on the Agenda 2000 reform proposals on the table.

Luc Guyau, president of EU producer body COPA, says farmers livelihoods are at stake and there is growing unrest in rural communities.

"A systematic reduction in prices cannot form the basis of a good agricultural policy," he said in Brussels this week. Without full compensation, agricultural revenue would slump by up to 8bn ecus (£5.9bn) within five years.

Mr Guyau denounced recent EU Commission claims that per capita farm incomes would rise under Agenda 2000.

The only way this was possible was if the number of people employed in agriculture fell by a third over the period to 2005.

"That represents millions of families who bring additional life and employment to rural areas," he said. &#42