Starting gun fired on EU farm reform battle

Fischler wins over environmentalists, angers farmers, with far-reaching CAP reform plan

Plans for what is being rated the European common agriculture policy's (CAP) largest shake-up for 45 years hit the streets today with formal adoption of controversial proposals by the European Commission. The communication is virtually unchanged from a draft prepared by agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler and widely leaked last month (EED 27/06/02).

The proposals are aimed largely at easing the difficult path to EU enlargement and strengthening the bloc's hand in negotiations due next year on liberalising world agricultural trade rules. But they are also being hailed as a major step forward for environmental protection.

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