17 March 1998
Farmers steel themselves for CAP reform
EUROPEAN Union farm commissioner Franz Fischler will tomorrow outline the most wide-ranging reform in the 36-year history of the Common Agricultural Policy.
But according to todays Financial Times, farmers will immediately denounce his plans. And politicians across Europe are likely to support the farmers in their opposition.
After months of tortuous negotiations, many diplomats and farm leaders expect the thrust of Fischlers proposals to be implemented around the planned date of January 2000.
The proposals form part of the Agenda 2000 programme to streamline the EU for eastwards expansion early next century. The EU is also revamping structural funds for improving regional infrastructure.
CAP reform is likely to include cuts of up to 30% in guaranteed minimum prices for cereals, beef and dairy products. Production limits for cereals and compensation to offset farmers loss of income will likely be removed.
Fischler says the idea is to turn farmers into export-hungry entrepreneurs and give the public lower prices and better quality.
The Financial Times full-page news feature also looks at the impact of reform on rural development and EU regional aid. Cuts in support prices will not be fully compensated and many farmers will give up unless the changes are modified, it says.
- Financial Times 17/03/98 page 2