Agriculture ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss how to protect EU farming spending ahead of next year’s budget negotiations.
Spainish Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete said he was optimistic that an agreement could be struck.
“We have an strong alliance with countries such as France, and Ireland which will have the EU presidency from January,” he said.
We want to increase those alliances, we have another important ally, European Parliament.”
Austrian farmer Irmi Salzer produces organic vegetables at the border between Austria and Hungary.
She said the most important issue is how agricutural subsidies are distributed.
“As we know about 80% of aids goes to the 20% of the farmers and viceversa. So that’s not fair. It’s the small farmers who produce a lot of food who make sure that rural areas exist, that people can leave in rural areas. So it’s important to have a fair distribution,” Salzer said.
Farming and agricultural related subsidies make up nearly 40 percent of current EU spending – that was 58 billion euros last year.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy wants to slash that by 11 percent amid stiff opposition from France and Spain.