France will block EU farm subsidy cuts: Sarkozy
France warned Thursday it will block any move to cut its cherished EU farm subsidies, after EU officials raised the prospect of revising the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy.
"I agree that we can discuss the conditions of the grants... but we want to keep the budget the same, to the penny," President Nicolas Sarkozy told a meeting of local representatives in the northern town of Arras.
"If people don't want to understand that, France will block" discussions, he added. "Let no one imagine that France will accept a cut in the Common Agricultural Policy budget."
The European Union's budget commissioner Janus Lewandowski said Tuesday that spending on farming should be cut to fund other EU policies in areas such as immigration, energy and research.
France is the biggest beneficiary of the current system of farm subsidies.
Sarkozy also rejected the prospect of a free trade deal with the South American bloc Mercosur, saying it would slash French livestock farmers' revenues.
© 2011 AFP