26 February 1999
Germans make ‘heavy weather’ of Agenda 2000
GERMANY is making “heavy weather” over reform of the European Unions budget, farm and regional policies, reports the Financial Times.
In a detailed analysis of Germanys negotiating strategy, the paper acknowledges that Bonn has tried to narrow differences among the 15 member states.
But it says that the reforms involve cuts in expenditure which have led to sharp differences of opinion between Germany and other European Union countries.
One of the most important opponents of reform plans is Germanys former ally, France.
France is “viscerally opposed” to the national co-financing of agricultural support, reports the FT.
The French fear that the Germans will “ambush” negotiations at a later stage with their co-financing proposals.
Germany “is breaking an unwritten rule of the Franco-German relationship by persisting with a policy that is fundamentally hostile to French interests,” the paper observes.