The latest reform of the EU’s agricultural policy has been rubber-stamped, which will gradually reduce direct subsidies to farmers and redirect the money into other rural development. Milk quotas will gradually be raised, and then in 2015 be abolished altogether.
The farm ministers’ finalising of the CAP reform also means that direct aid to farmers will no longer be linked to the production of a specific product, with a few exceptions. More flexibility will go into the use of Member States’ national budgets for direct payments for environmental measures or improving the quality and marketing of products. The money can be used to help farmers in regions which are at a disadvantage or in otherwise vulnerable types of farming. It is all part of the Common Agricultural Policy’s modernising ‘Health Check’, which is supposed to help farmers respond better in the market and face new challenges.