The 15 EU Farm Ministers have remained divided in their discussion of agricultural and fisheries reforms at the Council meeting in Brussels on 23-24 September.
Britain, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, who are in favour of a reform of the CAP, supported the Commission’s proposal for a 5 per cent reduction of the guaranteed intervention price for cereals in case of a price decrease in international markets. The other Member States refused this measure as unnecessary because European prices are currently competitive in the world markets.
The proposal is part of the Commission’s plan for the CAP mid-term review, tabled in July. The Commission proposes de-coupling the link between production and subsidies from 2004 on, and to gradually redirect direct payments for farmers to rural development programmes.
The ministers also remained firmly divided on the issue of fisheries reform, where they are due to adopt a new regulation by the end of the year. A group of six states calling themselves “Friends of Fishing” – France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland – published their own reform proposals. These countries reject the reforms proposes by the Commission that aim at preserving the collapsing fish stocks in EU waters.