26 February 1998
MPs slam Euro-plans for more farm spending

EUROPEAN plans for increasing farm spending as part of the proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms have been criticised by UK MPs as “totally unacceptable”.

The Commission had estimated a net increase in spending at Ecu4 billion (£2.65bn) each year by 2006. An Ecu7.7bn increase in direct farmers compensation payments would more than offset savings of Ecu 3.7bn made by cutting support prices for beef, cereals and dairy.

Current spending on the CAP is Ecu40bn, nearly half the European Union annual budget.

The highly critical Commons agriculture committee report said the blowout in spending could have been avoided by reducing direct payments over time. The report questions whether the Commission took a soft approach on reform, fearing that tougher reforms would not have been backed by European farm ministers.

  • Financial Times 26/02/98 page 10