18 June 1998
Bavarians nervous over Agenda 2000

BAVARIAN farmers fear the planned Agenda 2000 agricultural reforms will be at their expense.

Milk farmers are anxious about cuts in market intervention prices of up to 17% under the reforms, which are intended to reduce farmers dependence on price subsidies and prepare European Union finances for the inclusion of former communist countries.

Some would be hit by increases in milk quotas in Italy, which is the biggest market for Bavarian milk.

A total of 4,000-5,000 agriculture-related businesses close every year in Bavaria. Agriculture accounts for only 1% of Germanys gross domestic product, but the industry shapes the states character and its politics.

Josef Schwabl, a farmer in Ebersberg, said cuts in market intervention prices could cost him DM28,000 (£9,655) a year, even after taking account of proposed direct compensation.

  • Financial Times 18/06/98 page 3