26 January 1999
German CAP reform plans run into trouble

GERMANY is having a tough time trying to get European Union (EU) foreign and finance ministers at their meeting to impose financial limits on farm ministers when setting agricultural spending.

Joschhka Fischer, German foreign minister, reported agreement that he and his colleagues in the general affairs council should apply guidelines to ministers negotiating future farm support.

But there was less support for the German idea of a “top down” system of financial control with strict limits on farm spendign.

Yesterdays meeting backed the idea of capping farm budgets at levels more in keeping with actual spending. But Spain, Greece and Ireland opposed the idea.

France would accept cuts in the EUs direct aid to farmers and was for a stabilisation of EU farm spending and overall spending up to 2006.

But the French and Irish ministers warned against the concept of “co-financing” by which national budgets would play a bigger role in financing.