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EU agrees huge changes to farming policy

EU agrees huge changes to farming policy
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The EU has agreed wholesale changes to the bloc’s agricultural policy that will slash subsidies to the largest farms.

The tentative deal between the Commission, MEPs and farming ministers means that a payment method based on historical output levels will be scrapped.

Dacian Ciolos, the EU Agriculture Commissioner, also said that some payments would be conditional on farmers taking steps to improve their environmental performance.

“Thirty percent of direct payments will be diverted towards farming practices that coincide with the objectives of sustainable production,” he said.

Smaller farmers say that 20 percent of those in the sector gobble up 80 percent of EU funds: most of them are big businesses.

EU negotiators have also agreed to end sugar production quotas from October 2017; the policy has been blamed for creating artificial shortages.

For the changes to become active, they must be confirmed by the whole European Parliament and EU governments.

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