19 March 1998
EU hopes for ’99 CAP reform deal

THE European Commission hopes that agricultural reform will be agreed by early next year after it unveiled its plans for a radical shake-up of the Common Agricultural Policy yesterday (Wednesday).

The proposals cover the implementation of the biggest reform of the CAP subsidies regime ever attempted. If passed, they will effectively scrap the set-aside system and will allow producers to be free of international trade restraints.

UK farmers leaders said the proposals on agriculture could lead to unfair competition between farmers in the EU, possibly putting those in the UK at a disadvantage.

Dairy and arable farmer Alistair Wannop, from Carlisle, criticised EU plans that would prevent British farmers increasing milk production under quota measures designed for “mountainous” areas. But he thought most farmers would welcome a move towards direct payments and away from “market-distorting support prices.”

EU enlargement negotiations will be launched at the end of the month with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Cyprus.

  • Financial Times 19/03/98 page 1-2, page 10, page 23 (Editorial comment)
  • The Times 19/03/98 page 1, page 6
  • The Independent 19/03/98 page 12, page 16
  • The Scotsman 19/03/98 page 18 (Opinion), page 30
  • The Daily Telegraph 19/03/98 page 14