Joyce Quin, Agriculture Minister of State has welcomed the prospect of reform of the EU sugar regime.

Speaking in London today, Ms Quin said:

"The EU sugar regime is a complex system which affects many different interests. Reform of the regime is long overdue, and I welcome the chance to start bringing the arrangements more into line with market realities.

"While it is good that the Commission has come forward with proposals, they are disappointingly modest, given the substantial economic distortions this regime creates. In the Brussels negotiations, UK representatives will be pressing the case for a more substantial reform."

She said that in addition, the Ministry is also writing to UK interests to invite their views on the proposals, so that they can be taken into account in drawing up the UK negotiating line.


Notes for Editors

  1. The EU sugar regime was originally set up in 1968. It regulates the industries producing sugar, isoglucose and inulin syrup, and has a significant impact on farmers, processors, refiners, sugar-using industries and consumers. It also affects trade with sugar suppliers in third countries. Although the regime has been adapted to take account of changing circumstances, notably the refining of cane sugar following UK accession in 1973, it has not been subject to the major reforms applied to other sectors in 1992 and 1999.


  2. The Commission's proposal was agreed on 4 October. It will now be discussed in Council fora in Brussels. The European Parliament will also produce an opinion. The formal deadline for agreement is 31 December 2000.


  3. The consultation letter is available on the MAFF website at: www.maff.gov.uk/corps/consexer/default.htm#current. Alternatively copies can be obtained by contacting John Flowerdew on 020 7270 8191 or e-mailing him on j.flowerdew@ncs.maff.gsi.gov.uk


  4. Responses to the Consultation Document must be received no later than 6 November 2000.


  5. The Commission's proposals may be obtained from its website: www.europa.eu.int