28 November 1997

But Fischler is insistent – it stays in frame

DESPITE Lord Sewels views, Mr Fischler insisted this week that modulation would be considered by EU farm ministers in March as part of the CAP reform package.

Speaking to representatives from Europes leading farming publications in Brussels, he added: "If member states are in favour, we could have modulation in place by the year 2000."

He said large CAP payments to individual farm businesses were bad for the publics perception of farming, giving the example of one farm in eastern Germany, which received nearly £2.5m last year.

But he refused to identify the size or type of farm business which might be subject to capping.

The framework for modulation should be laid down by the commission, with each member state setting its own guidelines, Mr Fischler said. "It would be better to do it member state by member state, because the structure of each country is so different."

And, it was important that regional aspects were taken into consideration to ensure that small farms, and those in less favoured areas were not disadvantaged.

To prevent farmers dividing up holdings into smaller units in anticipation of modulation, a commission official added that member states would be expected to base their calculations on figures generated before the 1992 CAP reforms.

EUfarm commis-

sioner Franz Fischler says each member must decide for itself.