The EU’s agriculture commissioner wants to preserve or even increase EU food spending beyond the current EUR44bn (US$58.72bn) a year while national governments implement austerity cuts. 

In a debate yesterday (13 January) at a European Parliament committee meeting Dacian Ciolos said he wanted this year’s oncoming proposals on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy to include maintained funding. 

“We have provided for a very ambitious proposal for the future CAP. The budget should be at the same level as the ambitions,” Ciolos told MEPs. 

Such a stance could provoke clashes with member states such as the UK and the Netherlands, who want to limit or reduce EU spending, noted Finnish Liberal Carl Haglund. 

However, Ciolos may get support from the European Left. German social democrat MEP Jutta Haug, who chairs the policy challenges committee at which Ciolos was speaking, said: “When it comes to funding public goods, such as food security, mitigating climate change etc, this is all the duty of farmers. We are not going to get all this with less money.”