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France to implement CAP reforms in 2006

PARIS, Feb 18 (AFP) – France will implement the reforms of the European
Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2006, Agriculture Minister Herve
Gaymard told his cabinet colleagues on Wednesday.

“The decoupling of subsidies, that is, the elimination of the link between
aid and production, will be implemented in 2006,” Gaymard said in a message to
the cabinet whose contents were disclosed by government spokesman
Jean-Francois Cope.

France could have scheduled the implementation in 2005, 2006 or 2007. The
middle choice “seemed the most appropriate to the interests of French
agriculture,” Gaymard said.

The minister said he had carried out “a broad consultation of the various
stakeholders, beginning with professional farming organizations.”

The CAP, which gobbles up nearly half of the 15-member bloc’s current
annual budget of 100 billion euros, is blamed for encouraging massive
overproduction that ends up being dumped on poorer countries’ markets.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to cut all links
between direct subsidies for farmers and their production levels.

Under the reforms, a system will be set up to make lump sum payments
directly to farms, and aid disbursements will be subjected to certain
environmental and food safety criteria.

The reforms are also aimed at redirecting some direct aid towards rural

The European Commission last month approved nearly EUR 6 billion (USD 7.6
billion) in funding on rural development in the 10 countries joining
the EU in May, with the lion’s share going to Poland.

The total of EUR 5.76 billion covers the period 2004-2006 and is more
than the EUR 5.11 billion tabled during the accession negotiations in 1999,
to take account of inflation and improved offers given to the 10.

Just under the half of the total, EUR 2.87 billion, is being given to
Poland, which is easily the biggest of the 10 new EU members and has a huge
farming sector.

In addition, under an accord reached in October 2002 in Brussels, EU farm
spending will be frozen from 2007 to 2013, and the allocation will be divided
by the 25 member states.


                                                              Subject: France news