16 November 1998
CAP reforms condemned as ‘too expensive’

THE proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is too expensive and likely to break the EU budget by billions of pounds, according to the European Court of Auditors.

The court said that the European Commission has made “optimistic assumptions” about trends in world prices.

Farmers will now have to get higher compensation from the taxpayer because world prices have fallen to historically low levels.

John Wiggins, Britains member of the court, expressed concern about the level of aid which would be paid to new members in Eastern Europe.

He also said the court had concern about the level of subsidy being paid to a few large farmers – where 4% of farmers in the cereals sector get 40% of the money.

The reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy are intended to reduce the guaranteed prices paid to cereal farmers.

Producers will receive increases in area aid subsidies in exchange for the loss of some of their income.

Cuts will also take place for milk producers but they will be allowed to produce more milk. Beef producers will see a similar change.

The European Parliament will spend this week discussing the Agenda 2000 proposals for the reform of the agricultural spending and regional aid programmes.

  • The Daily Telegraph 16/11/98 page 2