EU Wrangling Over Farm Subsidy Reforms Pushed To June

EU wrangling over farm subsidy reforms pushed to June

Brussels, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th May, 2021 ) :EU agriculture ministers will return next month to the thorny issue of reforming the bloc's vast farming subsidies after a meeting this week failed to produce agreement, officials said on Friday.

"Although progress was made in several areas, a number of key issues remained outstanding. It was therefore decided to postpone talks until the next meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers in June," the European Council said in a statement.

Three days of negotiations between the ministers and MEPs on reshaping the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2023 butted up against lawmakers' demands to make the subsidies "greener".

The sums involved are huge. The CAP runs to 387 billion Euros ($472 billion) over seven years -- a third of the EU's total multi-year budget -- with 270 billion euros going in direct aid to Europe's farmers.

During this week's negotiations, the MEPs insisted that 30 percent of that direct aid go to farmers participating in strictly defined programmes protecting the environment.

The EU ministers were sticking to a 20 percent target and for lighter-touch bureaucracy.

"We need ambitious goals but they need to be attainable," Portugal's agriculture minister, Maria do Ceu Antunes, said on Wednesday when the negotiations started.

A European Parliament negotiator, Anne Sander of the conservative EPP grouping, on Friday called for "balance".

"We will try to find an agreement in June. Everybody needs to shoulder their responsibilities. Without economic sustainability (in farming revenues) there won't be environmental and climatic sustainability," she said.