30 April 1998
Farmers optimistic over single currency

FARMERS are optimistic that the arrival of the single European currency will improve their lot.

Brussels-based consultancy EPA Associates said the Euro should mean the completion of a truly single market for agriculture. The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) continues to be Europes greatest absorber of money, but those setting the policies have had to operate for decades without a common currency.

The Financial Times says the first benefit to farmers will be the end of the complex and costly agrimoney system, necessary to convert the range of European Union farm subsidies from Ecus into national currencies.

Also, once all farmers receive their subsidy cheques in the same currency, competition between farmers in different countries should become fairer, many believe.

COPA, the European farmers union, said farmers should also benefit from more transparency in pricing of their supplies and equipment, from fertilisers to tractors.

Farmers who join Emu in the first wave will enjoy, at least initially, lower interest rates than those in the UK, for example, putting British farmers at a competitive disadvantage in investment.

  • Financial Times (Birth of the Euro supplement) 30/04/98 page VII
  • The Guardian 30/04/98 page 19