23 February 2000
Farmers avoid cuts for Kosovo
By FWi staff
FARMERS have escaped cuts in subsidy payments to help the EU meet commitments to rebuild war-torn Kosovo, but agriculture will still pick up the bill
Almost 800 million (500m) aid is needed in 2001.
However, no provision was made at last years Berlin summit and despite efforts to make up the shortfall, a further 300m has to be found in each of the next two years.
Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyers proposal that agricultural subsidies be cut by 1% to make up the difference failed to win support at the European Commissions draft budget meeting in Brussels.
Instead farming commissioner Franz Fischler said savings through “budgetary discipline” would be sufficient.
These include pig export refunds, flax and hemp reform and a review of the rice sector.
It is also expected that savings can be made in argimoney compensation, apparently hoping that Britain will not apply for the aid to offset the strength of the Pound.
Ms Schreyer did not rule out further cuts in 2002.
But in other respects farm price package proposals, announced on Wednesday (23 February), contain few surprises.
Mr Fischler said: “We intend to continue the multi-annual approach set out in Agenda 2000 reforms and previous reforms.
“This provides farmers with a more stable framework to plan their production.”
The package will implement the first changes to the cereals regime stemming from last years Agenda 2000 reforms, including a 7.5% cut in intervention prices to 110.25 (69/t) in 2001, and an identical cut the year after.
The commission proposes that monthly increments of 1/month (62p/month) are also reduced.
Between November and May 2001, the intervention price will rise by 0.93 (58p/month) and by just 85/month (53p/month) the year after.
The commission estimates this will save about 25m (15.6m) over the next two marketing years.
The price package will now go before farm ministers, probably in May or June.