The EU Council of Ministers has approved the unification of 21 sector-specific EU common market organisations under one bureaucratic system - most affecting food products.

The outgoing EU subsidy regimes cover foodstuffs including eggs, poultry, milk sheep and fruit and vegetables.

While the decision does not immediately affect subsidies paid to producers and manufacturers of these products, the new unified system is designed to be more user-friendly and transparent.

An EU council note said the reform was "the flagship of the [European] Commission's action plan to simplify and rationalise the Common Agricultural Policy".

The new system comes into force on 1 January next year.