17 June 1998
EU sets CAP reform deadline
EUROPEAN UNION (EU) leaders have set a nine-month deadline for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform to prepare for eastern enlargement early next century.
The agreement, reached on the final day of the EU summit in Cardiff, Wales, postpones serious negotiations until after Germanys general election in Germany.
But EU diplomats noted fundamental disagreements over the cost of expanding eastwards and the “massacre” of a draft summit text on CAP reform in deference to the farm lobby.
German chancellor Helmut Kohl would not speculate on a possible failure of the Agenda 2000 reform package needed for enlargement, but he pointed out that spending guidelines only applied to the end of 1999.
The Financial Times says overhauling CAP and other reforms in regional aid and a new seven-year budget deal to 2006 are far more contentious than last years Amsterdam treaty on closer European integration.
The Germans are winning the argument that there needs to be a better balance between the money they pay into the EU budget and their returns through regional aid and farm subsidies.
Gerhard Schroder, SPD candidate for the German leadership, suggested in the Financial Times that pressure on the EU budget could be eased by trimming CAPs price support system before providing local direct payments linked to the area under farming.
- Financial Times 17/06/98 page 2, page 21 (Leader)
- The Times 17/06/98 page 11
- The Daily Telegraph 17/06/98 page 26 (Politics)