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Farmers ride into Brussels to protest subsidy reforms

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By Euronews
Farmers ride into Brussels to protest subsidy reforms

Belgian farmers have brought their tractors to the heart of Brussels to protest, as the EU mulls possible reforms to subsidies. 

Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would give member states more powers over how and where funds are invested.

Critics say the current direct payments ensure a level playing field.

"We can not re-nationalise the common agricultural policy. It's the pillar of Europe and if tomorrow we put that pillar to bed, Europe will fall completely. It is thanks to the policy that Europe was founded," Yves Vandevoorde, from the Belgian Association of Farmers (FUGEA), told Euronews. 

The protest also targeted a possible free-trade agreement, which could bring meat from South America into the European market.

"A trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur will come in support of an industrial model and it will contribute to low prices," said Maite Defourny, from FUGEA. 

The EU's looking at the future of farming subsidies as it looks at its next budget, which will be left with a gaping hole because of Brexit.

Some members show support for upping contributions to maintain aid, while others are not so keen.

Rumen Porodzhanov, Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister, explained: "There are proposals on the table, of course Member states favour different needs but we have to work together to have a common voice - to guide the European Commission."