UK off on its own on EU farm subsidies: France

12th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Sept 11 (AFP) - French agriculture minister Dominique Bussereau reiterated Sunday his opposition to any change to the European Union's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

LONDON, Sept 11 (AFP) - French agriculture minister Dominique Bussereau reiterated Sunday his opposition to any change to the European Union's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

Speaking at a weekend informal meeting of EU farm ministers in London, Bussereau -- whose nation reaps the most from the CAP in terms of subsidies -- said Britain was isolated on the issue.

"There was a political agreement in 2002 (on the future of the CAP) and it is out of the question to change it," Bussereau said. "It's not about a debate between France and Britain. It's about a position held by England that is different from the position of other European countries."

The future of the CAP came to the fore in June when British Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to surrender Britain's EU rebate without a root and branch rethink of EU farm subsidies.

The CAP accounts for the biggest single chunk of EU spending, with more than EUR 90bn doled out every year to European farmers -- and with 80 percent of the money going to just 20 percent of producers.

Bussereau said changes to the CAP agreed in 2002 were only just coming into effect, including new rules on payments and environmental protection, and that it was therefore "absurd" to reopen the issue.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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