8 August 1997

CAP reform paper

EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler has emphasised the benefits of the commissions CAP reform plans.

In a paper released this week in Brussels, he stressed the reforms were essential to improve the quality and competitiveness of EU agricultural products on both domestic and international markets.

To achieve that, a further shift towards market prices was needed which was why the commission planned to switch support away from commodities and towards direct income payments for farmers.

Intervention buying also needed to return to its originally intended role as a safety net in cases of serious market disruptions, said Mr Fischler.

Another benefit of CAP reform was that it would make the progressive eastward expansion of the EU easier. And it would help to prepare EU agriculture for the next round of world trade talks, he added.

Under the reform plans, the commission has proposed slashing arable price support by 20% in the year 2000, beef prices by 30% and dairy support by 10%, while offering partial compensation to producers with direct support payments. More money should also be earmarked for agri-environmental schemes, Mr Fischler said.

The plans are due to be discussed on Sept 7 at the next EU farm ministers meeting.