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New look at EU agriculture

brussels bureau

New look at EU agriculture


A European reform plan to help farmers respond to growing demand for food looks at doing away with numerous support schemes, especially for larger farms. More of the EU’s aid money would go into rural development projects. Safety-net purchase of commodity stocks with public funds at fixed prices could count on being phased out, along with farm subsidies still linked to production volumes.

That is under a so-called “health check” of EU farm policy, proposed by the bloc’s Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel. She said: “It is all about freeing farmers to meet growing demand and respond quickly to (the market)… and give (them) the tools to handle the new challenges they face, such as climate change.” Boel’s plan will now be discussed by EU farm ministers. An agreement is supposed to be reached in November.

There would be small annual increases in milk production quotas ahead of the planned abolition of the quota system in 2015. Her suggestion to place maximum fixed limits on subsidies for Europe’s largest farms has brought opposition especially from Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Also under Boel’s plan, leaving ten percent of land unused each year, to rest the soil, would no longer be required.

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