CAP in chaos as Commissioners resign

16 March 1999

CAP in chaos as Commissioners resign

By FWi staff

THE Agenda 2000 reforms of the European farm subsidy system are in chaos after the mass resignation of the entire European Commission.

All 20 European Union (EU) commissioners resigned late last night after a damning independent report into fraud and cronyism in Brussels.

The 144-page report followed an independent probe agreed by the commissioners in January when the 626 European parliament called for them to quit.

Agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler, who was the first to walk out, said the commissions authority had been undermined by the report.

“Europe cannot function without an effective and credible Commission which enjoys the confidence of the other institutions and of European citizens,” he said.

The resignations plunged the EU into arguably the biggest political upheaval of its 42-year history.

They also cast doubt on the timetable for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), aimed at enabling the EU to afford eastwards expansion.

Commission President Jacques Santer was expected to meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder today the implications of the farm reforms agreement.

Instead, Mr Santer found himself holding a hastily-convened press conference in front of hundreds of reporters at 12.30am this morning (Tuesday).

The resignations come just a week before European heads of government meet in Berlin for a summit on key budget reforms.

But instead of debating CAP reform, it is likely that Tony Blair and his European counterparts will be discussing the ramifications of last nights events.

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