November 26, 2008


France wants EU agreement on farm policy

Current EU president, France, hopes to get EU ministers to broaden pledges on farm policy before the bloc begins its next round of budget negotiations.


France wants to persuade EU farm ministers about future challenges such as climate change and rising global food demand, making it necessary to increase output and productivity and to maintain agriculture in Europe.


However, any verbal agreement could be used later to preserve or increase farm spending during the EU's negotiations for the seven-year budget starting in 2014.


France's paper said the conclusions should not affect the budget talks, which are expected to start sometime in 2010, but some older-style farm support schemes should remain relevant after 2013 for the need to meet surging global food demand.


It is necessary for the EU to continue to have after 2013 a common and sufficiently ambitious agricultural policy, said the paper, when referring to EU goals of stable markets, farm income and affordable food for consumers.


An EU official responded by saying the conclusions may be stifled or thrown out, and the most likely interpretation of market stabilisation is price stabilisation, which the EU is moving away from.


France also hinted at import tariffs, which when reinforced, may upset trading partners. However, France said it is merely about ways to promote EU farm produce over foreign imports.

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