Mixed feelings for new EU CAP health check

23-05-2008 | |

EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has announced her plans to further reform European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Major elements in the plans are increased rates of modulation, an end to set-aside, increases in milk quota and the phasing out of more production-linked support payments.
“We must clear away obstacles which are hindering farmers’ responses to market signals,” she said. “We must make our support systems more effective, efficient and simple. And we must help farms meet various developing challenges, such as climate change.”
Common Agricultural Policy
The CAP, a system of agricultural subsidies and programmes, was originally set up to provide European farmers with a reasonable standard of living, consumers with quality food at fair prices and to make sure rural heritage is preserved.
Growing amounts of criticism about unfair subsidies and also the growing number of countries being added to the EU zone, made a further reform of the CAP necessary.
Most of the reforms are related to the dairy and beef industry as other sectors were reformed and decoupled during the first round of reforms in 2003. The further loss of those direct subsidies may affect the pork and poultry industry indirectly as it might drive producers to go into pork or poultry production.
First reactions from France and Germany sounded disappointed; the German agriculture minister Horst Seehofer has already announced not to go along with it. Seehofer and the German farmers alike feel the subsidy cuts harm the EU policy’s reliability.
Denmark and the UK on the other hand feel that Fischer Boel’s proposals might not be far-stretching enough. The Danish agriculture minister Eva Kjer Hansen said she’d preferred to see a more liberalised market and more market orientation.
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