5 September 1997

Gap in farm gate prices

DIFFERENCES in farm gate prices between east European countries lining up to join the EU and those already in, range from 40% to 80%, with the greatest difference for cereals, according to a Brussels report released this week.

Despite this, the commission believes the most advanced countries – namely Poland and the Czech Republic – could be integrated from 2002 by closing the price gap immediately, with no damage to market balance.

But other countries, which have been slower to reform their agricultures, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania, would have to be brought into the EU more gradually.n