25 February 1998
THE Government is determined to secure the best deal for UK farmers in the run-up to European Monetary Union, junior farm minister Lord Donoughue said yesterday morning.
Speaking to agricultural business leaders at the Farmers Weekly EMU conference in London, Lord Donoughue said that the Single Currency would mean a radical overhaul of the European Union agrimonetary system used to calculate farm subsidy payments in national currencies.
Existing agrimonetary arrangements have protected farmers receipts, but are open to widespread criticism, Lord Donoughue said. They impose a high cost for consumers and taxpayers, are complex to administer, and distort trade.
“Our task is to ensure that the farming, food and associated industries are fully informed of the implications for them of any possible deal,” he told delegates. “We intend to establish a dialogue with all sectors with an interest in the outcome.”
“We understand the need to work with the farming and food communities to start practical measures now to prepare for joining the Single Currency.”
Preparations to remodel the EU agrimonetary regime will begin later this year. The UK will not be among those countries joining the first wave of European Monetary Union. But Lord Donoughue said that the prospect of joining later meant the Government had a key interest in all aspects of the