The Commission hit out at plans for extra cuts

The Commission hit out at plans for extra cuts

The EU's annual EUR3.1bn budget for food production subsidies is facing deep cuts, officials within The European Commission has told just-food.

Heads of government will meet next week in Brussels to agree a spending deal for 2014-20 and officials warn new proposals from European Council president Herman van Rompuy demand additional de facto cuts of 10.8% in all Common Agricultural Policy spending – above an already planned 12% reduction.

One official highlighted fruit and vegetables’ EUR500 million subsidy budget as one of three areas "probably" facing especially "substantial cuts". Support for food production in remote areas and for wine are also be looked at.

Food production support is being targeted by governments wanting reduced EU spending to ease Europe's financial crisis.

A spokesperson for agriculture within The Commission said: "This would severely disrupt our system of direct payments, and devastate future rural development programmes. Every element of spending is facing cuts."

Other vulnerable fruit and vegetable programmes include annual EUR150m subsidies for producer groups and the EUR90m school fruit scheme. The EUR389m remote region budget covers EU-run territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean.