Kosovos gain could be farmers loss
FARMERS could face reduced EU payments under the Common Agricultural Policy, with money being diverted to help fund aid to war-ravaged Kosovo.
The European Commission is being asked to adjudicate on a dispute over an attempt to reduce the maximum which can be spent under the CAP budget.
Budget commissioner Michaele Schreyer wants cuts of up to 500 million (307) to offset payment to Kosovo, reports The Financial Times.
EU farm spending for next year has a 43bn limit, which farming commissioner Franz Fischler has already said his directorate is already struggling to meet.
It was thought Ms Schreyer sought 300m, but reports say she now also wants a 200m “flexibility reserve” set aside for CAP.
Agriculture industry representatives fear the sugar budget is the most likely to be targeted.
Farmers representatives at COPA said it was unfair that farmers should pick up the tab for Kosovo when the issue affects all of society.
The EC must put together a draft budget for governments and the European Parliament by the end of April.
On Wednesday, commissioners may rule on the farms spending dispute.
The dispute has led to the cancellation of the planned meeting of agricultural ministers on Monday and Tuesday (21 and 22 February).
- The Financial Times, 21/02/2000 page 6