12 March 1999
What the papers say —
CAP reforms already under attack

REFORM of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was agreed only yesterday in Brussels, fails to go far enough, according to many newspapers this morning.

The broadsheets focus on criticism by a minority of European Union (EU) countries, including Britain, which claim that more reforms are needed.

The reforms promise to cut the prices of cereals, beef and milk by up to 20%.

But after three weeks of stop-start negotiations, agriculture ministers failed to meet demands from heads of government for a freeze on farm spending.

Many papers report a government spokesman saying that Britain will press for further reform, including arrangements for reducing direct subsidies to farmers.

French Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany is also reported claiming that the reform work remains unfinished.

Mr Glavany said the reform package risks being rejected at a summit in Berlin later this month because it exceeds budgetary limits.

Yesterdays agreement will be considered at the heads of government summit taking place on 24-25 March.

They will be seeking to agree changes to the EU budget, farm policy and regional aid.

Because the deal breaks the levels implied by a budget freeze between 2000 and 2006, it is expected there will be further pressure on the UKs budget rebate.

The budget-busting implication of the deal could also mean there is another attempt to introduce “co-financing” arrangements.

These latter changes would force national governments to pick up directly some of the costs of CAP.

  • The Times 12/03/02/99 page 1, page 2, page 13, page 23 (Editorial)
  • The Independent 12/03/02/99 page 15, page 3 (The Friday Review)
  • Financial Times 12/03/99 page 1, page 19 (Editorial), page 20
  • The Guardian 12/03/99 page 4, page 21
  • The Daily Telegraph 12/03/99 page 1, page 5
  • The Herald 12/03/99 page 8