30 May 1997

Investment in EU not enough

TOO little money is invested in improving the structure of EU farms to lift their competitiveness, warns Philip von dem Bussche, president of the German Agricultural Society DLG.

Speaking at a Press meeting in Leipzig, East Germany, Mr Bussche recommended a radical refocusing of EU farm support. "A redirection of funds from production restriction to an active structural policy appears to be the only sensible course to help farmers face stiffer competition," he said.

Farm support linked to production would be frowned upon by the next World Trade Organisation agreement. "It is likely that payments to agriculture will only be accepted if they are unrelated to production," he predicted.

"Already, it is clear that new competition pressure will result from the WTO negotiations. We can withstand this pressure if we succeed in restructuring our agricultural and environmental policies." &#42