23 October 1998

EU ministers still push for reform

EU farm ministers have confirmed their resolve to press on with reforming the common agricultural policy, but failed at their monthly council meeting this week to make any substantive progress on the actual details.

The ministers produced an interim report on Agenda 2000, highlighting the central issues for future discussion.

More intensive negotiations are expected to get under way next month, with farm ministers obliged to come up with some conclusions to forward to the EU summit in Vienna in December.

EU farm commissioner, Franz Fischler, said he believed all farm ministers now understood the seriousness of the situation and the need for reform, while current farm president, Austrias Wilhelm Molterer, said the council was still on target to reach final political agreement in March 1999, as requested by heads of state and finance ministers.