Governments diverge over EU farm reforms

First ministerial debate on mid-term review proposals underscores deep divisions between countries

EU agriculture ministers yesterday held their first debate on the European Commission's recent reform proposals for the common agricultural policy (CAP). The session confirmed general approval for higher rural development funding but fundamental divisions over other issues between a smaller group of pro-reform countries and a larger group opposed to radical change.

Denmark, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany are in the first camp. All gave a broad welcome to the Commission's plan, styled as a mid-term review of the 2000-2006 CAP funding period. Among the other ten states, France, Spain and Ireland voiced particularly strong criticisms.

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