Farmers fear future for EU's Common Agricultural Policy

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
French farmer walks with oxen
French farmer walks with oxen   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

EU farmers are used to cutting crops during harvest time, but they could be facing cuts of a different kind beyond 2020.

Ministers are mulling whether the Common Agricultural Policy - which gives farms huge financial support - should be slashed.

Over third of budget

Four-hundred billion euros, more than 37 percent of the EU budget, is spent on the CAP right now. But that could be cut by 15 or 30 percent.

This, as the EU tries to balance its books post Brexit, with the UK's departure leaving a black hole.

There's a fear payments could be renationalised, put in the hands of governments.

"That would simply mean that we treat farmers differently in different member states," said Pekka PESONEN, Secretary-General of COPA COGEGA.

"Clearly we have some member states where we have willingness and capabilities to pay farmers in return of their services for food security and sustainability, but then we have member states for instance in some eastern and central member states that are truly dependent on the CAP. We cannot leave those farmers out in the cold."

Most of the CAP budget is currently paid directly to farmers.

Wider review

Germany's agriculture minister has said the common policy is important for securing food supplies - and farmers must be given a long-term perspective.

García Tejerina, Spain's Agriculture Minister, added: "Direct payments are the axis of the CAP because they have a essential function: to give stability to incomes."

The CAP's financial future is part of a much wider review of the EU's budget, which leaders say needs to be bigger in future. Milking more amid a shrinking supply of cash.