British threat to force dairy reform

10 March 1999

British threat to force dairy reform

BRITAIN has restated its threat to force through full-scale liberalisation of the European Union milk market, reports the Financial Times.

Britain is heading the “London club” of four countries critical of Germanys compromise proposal for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Germany wants cuts in guaranteed prices for beef, cereals and milk limited to 20%, 10% and nil against European Commission proposals of 30, 20 and 15%.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown said yesterday (Tuesday) that Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Italy would not accept the status quo on milk and wanted the market liberalised.

Germany, which holds the EU presidency, is now talking to commission officials and hoping to broker another compromise to present to EU farm ministers today.

  • Britain came under renewed political pressure yesterday to give up its EU budget rebate.

    The European Parliaments budget committee advised that the rebate should be phased out by the time new member countries join the EU in the coming decade.

    The rebate was agreed at a time when agricultural spending accounted for more than 70% of the EU budget compared with less than 50% today.

    But the impact of the committee report could be weakened by its recommendation that 50% of the CAP should be “co-financed” by national budgets.

    That would leave national governments footing 50% of the farm bill and undermine the UKs case for substantial rebate.

    Members of the European Parliament, who have only a consultative role, will vote on the proposal tomorrow.

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