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EU: Commission To Propose Reform Of Agricultural Policy

Brussels, 10 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission is set today to propose radical reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The EU policy is coming under mounting pressure as the 15-nation bloc prepares to admit up to 10 new members and enter a new round of talks aimed at breaking down global trade barriers.

EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler has drawn up plans to impose tough environmental, animal-welfare, and food-safety standards on farmers. There will be less money available for market subsidies but more spent on rural development.

The proposals are expected to include an end to production-related subsidies, a mainstay of the current CAP. Farmers would get a single payment from Brussels based on money received in the past -- regardless of whether they continue production on the same scale. Fischler believes this will streamline the CAP, making it easier to apply to the millions of farmers in an enlarged EU.