01 March 1999
CAP reform talks postponed again
By FWi staff
NEGOTIATIONS aimed at reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been delayed again after an ultimatum from the French government.
The talks, due to resume tomorrow in Brussels, were postponed at the last minute after the French president, Jacques Chirac, said there was little point attending.
European Union (EU) officials were told that the meeting should be called off because the only proposals timetabled for discussion were those already rejected by agriculture ministers.
Germany, which holds the EU presidency, agreed to postpone the negotiations to allow more time for member states to consider their positions.
Agriculture ministers from the 15 EU member states have now tentatively agreed to resume talks at a meeting scheduled for Thursday evening.
France, whose farmers receive the biggest share of the 30bn CAP budget, is determined to oppose deep cuts in support proposed for cereals, milk and beef.
Germany, on the other hand, contributes more to the CAP than its farmers receive and is adamant that the cuts are essential to reduce EU expenditure.
The dispute is growing increasingly bitter and representatives from the two countries clashed during an informal summit between EU heads of government at the weekend.