EU agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler is pressing for further reforms to Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, taking it beyond Brussels’ established Agenda 2000 changes.

In recent speeches, Fischler has especially focused on the need to reform the EU’s long-standing dairy quota system, protecting a sector where prices are currently low. The Agenda 2000 package excluded dairy, but Fischler suggested that its reform should be brought forward. He is under pressure to abandon export subsidies at the WTO Doha round, a fact that will make dairy quotas harder to justify financially.

On beef, the Commissioner said he was very keen to decoupling per-head payments from production, replacing them with a single income payment per farm, based on its historical level of premiums. And regarding cereals, he said EU farmers have to prepare for greater market fluctuations, especially after the US Farm Bill.

“Intervention should therefore be re-established as a real safety net,” he warned.

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