Renate Künast, the German minister for consumer protection, food and agriculture, insisted this week that strict economies are kept within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in order to reduce the share of the EU budget that is spent on agriculture.

Several central and eastern European countries have applied for membership of the EU body, and as preparations are made to widen its influence to the east, Künast argues that reform of CAP is essential, with a new focus on subsidies for environmentally friendly farming rather than production linked intensive farming.
By gradually reducing the €40bn worth of direct aid introduced by the EU in 1992 to compensate farmers for price cuts, pressures on the budget will also be alleviated. It seems unlikely however that such compensation packages can be denied to any newly formed EU members.

Künast believes that it is clear that the EU structure is geared towards producing quantity of food, which often entails a sacrifice of quality. “We need a new compact between society and agriculture. The services rendered to our society by farmers deserve compensation, but otherwise agriculture must face up to the market,” she insisted to national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. recently published a feature discussing CAP reform. To read it click here.

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