German parliament approves farm reforms
1 April 2004
BERLIN – In a polarised vote, the lower house of the German parliament Thursday approved key European Union agriculture reforms aimed at cutting the huge subsidies in Europe’s farming sector.
Passage of the bill in the Bundestag was carried on the votes of the Social Democrat-Greens majority, with the opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and Free Democrats voting en bloc against it.
Agriculture Minister Renate Kuenast of the Greens said she was confident of final passage of the bill which now must be approved by the Bundesrat, representing the federal states, which is controlled by the opposition camp.
“We will find a common path for the federal government and the states,” she predicted. At a recent meeting of the states’ farm ministers, the majority approved the E.U. reforms in principle.
At the core of the EU Commission reforms unveiled in June 2003 is to put an end to expensive subsidies paid out for over-production. At issue are some EUR six billion in subsidies in the EU farming sector paid each year.
Subject: German news