24 February 1998
EU farm reform proposals stir up controversy

RICH landowners are likely to keep most of their European Union (EU) subsidies despite calls to limit payments.

Proposals mean farmers claims for up to Ecu100,000 (£67,000) direct aid payments would be fully met. The EU would then pay 80% of the next Ecu100,000 claimed and 75% of claims above Ecu200,000.

The proposals are still to be finalised on March 18. They form part of Common Agricultural Policy reform planned for 2000-2006.

The Commission will give member nations the right to allocate up to 30% of aid payments in the beef and dairy sectors. Milk, beef and cereals support prices are to fall by up to 30%. But there could be an increase in milk quotas. The latest suggestions would allow for a rise of up to 2%.

Farming communities are increasingly concerned by the proposals. French farmers demonstrated around the European Commissions headquarters in Brussels yesterday.

Cattle breeders fear the proposals will hit extensive farming methods.

  • Financial Times 24/02/98 page 2