MEPs support delayed EU farm reform

Deputies give cautious backing to plan for "mid-term review" of common agriculture policy

The European parliament yesterday backed the general direction of European Commission proposals for a mid-term review of the common agricultural policy (CAP), but without challenging the recent deal between EU leaders that effectively means no reform before 2006.

Under the Commission's proposals member states would be required to reduce direct aid to farmers under so-called "compulsory modulation", while the CAP's "second pillar" of rural development support would be significantly boosted relative to the "first pillar" market support mechanism.

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