Iowa Public Television


Farmers Riled Over Proposed EU Reform

posted on October 14, 2011

    BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Commission proposed a drastic
overhaul of the EU's massive farm support program Wednesday but
came under immediate attack from farmers, environmentalists and
even the United Nations.
     The EU's executive Commission is seeking to make the euro53 billion
($73 billion) annual program that absorbs almost half the EU budget
greener, more efficient and fairer to the new member states from
central and eastern Europe by retargeting subsidies and support.
     Among the raft of proposals is one that would put part of the
funds aside for farmers who meet standards of sustainability and
environmental protection. It also wants farmers to leave at least 7
percent of land fallow for ecological purposes. The plans also cap
the amount of money that can be given to any one farm at euro300,000.
     Farmers complained that the proposals would lead to unnecessary
bureaucracy, while also restricting their production even as the
global population and food demands expand.
     Environmentalists said the proposals were insufficient to
protect the environment and meet the challenges of climate change.
     A U.N. human rights expert said the proposals will continue to
distort the global market because subsidized farmers are able to
sell food more cheaply, at the expense of poorer nations.
     The proposals will now go to member states and the EU parliament
before they can be approved, which could take a year.

Tags: agriculture European Union farmers