Loading...
See More

UK urges EU to be bolder on farm reform

Jan 05 2011 13:38 Reuters

Related Articles

UK factory activity hits 16-year high

Cameron warns of tough economic remedy

UK economy hits speed bump

UK public borrowing hits record

UK retailers buy less SA wine

Assange refused bail by UK court

 

Oxford - Rising food prices provide an opportunity to cut direct farm subsidies and the European Commission's plans to reform agricultural policy should be more ambitious, Britain's farm minister said on Wednesday.

"Rising global demand for food and rising food prices make it possible to reduce subsidies and plan for their abolition," UK agriculture and environment minister Caroline Spelman said at the annual Oxford Farming Conference.

The European Union's executive adopted plans in November 2010 that would force farmers to do more to protect the environment in order to justify public subsidies.

It also proposed moving some funding from direct subsidies to a basic level of income support.

"While I welcome their proposals for further moves towards market orientation and international competitiveness, I believe we can be more ambitious," she said.

The European Commission's plan, which will form the basis of legislative proposals due by mid-2011, did not contain any details of the future common agricultural policy (CAP) budget, currently worth about €5bn a year.

A European Union source has, however, told Reuters it was drafted on the assumption that the CAP budget would remain stable.

Britain has been among the countries pushing for cuts in the farm budget at a time of debt problems in the eurozone and huge pressure on public finances in Europe.

France and Spain, however, have called for it to remain at least at its current level after 2013.

"Of course our vision for the future and goals we set ourselves must be tempered by the current fiscal climate. There's a need for a reality check. It's astonishing that the commission's initial views on the CAP barely acknowledge the hard times currently facing Europe," she said.

Spelman said as global demand for food rises, the risk increases of "wrong-headed protectionism", noting grain export bans imposed by Russia and Ukraine in late summer 2010.

Her remarks coincided with news on Wednesday that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's Food Price Index in December rose to a record high, pushing past the levels in 2008 when rising food prices sparked riots in a number of countries.

She backed a proposal by France for Group of 20 agriculture ministers to meet to improve the functioning of world markets.

"I would like to work with France to seek an end to export bans - one of the most restrictive practices found in the world market," she said.

NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

Retailers of any shape and size can now unlock the power of mobile transacting.
 

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...