21 October 1998
EU seeks agreement on farming reforms

EUROPEAN UNION (EU) farm ministers are determined to agree a deal on the radical reform of agriculture despite sharp differences of opinion on content, reports the Financial Times.

The ministers plan to agree policy before March, when the reforms can be presented to an EU summit.

They are divided over the scale of cuts need in guaranteed prices paid to beef, dairy and cereal farmers. There is also a battle looming in the milk sector, with most countries opposing a proposal by the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Italy that the EU commits itself to scrapping quotas after 2000.

Franz Fischler, farm commissioner, said yesterday that abandoning quotas immediately would cause damage to producers and the market, but reform “was needed”. He has proposed a quota rise of 2% and a cut in guaranteed prices of 15%.

  • Financial Times 21/10/98 page 2