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Country News - 2003

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CAP reform splits farmers
Thursday 23 January 2003

PROPOSED reforms to the European Union's infamous Common Agricultural Policy have split opinions between Britain's two leading farming organisations.

The National Farmers' Union say they are "on the right track" but the Country Land and Business Association says they could "seriously damage Britain's own rural strategy."

The new proposals, put forward buy EU agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler earlier in the week, will transfer some funding away from subsidies based on food production towards smaller scale farming in environmentally friendly ways and also boost rural non-farming rural development schemes - something which NFU president, Yorkshire farmer Ben Gill, has welcomed.

But the CLA's Yorkshire Director, Dorothy Fairburn, says the proposals will hit more efficient, larger farms hardest - so that British farmers will pay much of the cost of the coming reforms.

Whatever happens, however, all observers are agree on one thing: significant reforms of CAP, which consumes billions of Euros every year, will be a long time coming.

France and Germany have together stitched up a deal which means the CAP budget will cannot be reduced in total for the next ten years - and under the new proposals France could end up paying even less than now!


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