EU policy must protect farmers from volatility
French minister of agriculture Bruno Le Maire (photo) and Portuguese minister of agriculture Antonio Serrano last week said the European common agricultural policy, or CAP, must regulate agricultural commodity markets to protect farmers from price volatility.
A new regulation means more reactive and efficient market instruments, a better organization of the agro-industrial sector and reinforced insurance mechanisms, the ministers said in a joint statement released after a meeting in Paris.
Portugal supports the Franco-German appeal for a strong CAP with a substantial budget after 2013, the statement said.
Both France and Portugal believe direct payments to farmers continue to be a major tool to help European agriculture meet its challenges.
The European Union last November unveiled proposals to overhaul the bloc's contentious €60 billion agricultural subsidies program, kicking off tough discussions among the 27 member states that must negotiate, agree and ratify the plan.
Even before the proposal was released, Europe's leading farming economies France and Germany made a point of pleading for keeping a strong CAP and have since sought to rally their European partners to their position.
They face opposition from EU budget-cutters led by the United Kingdom and big farming economies in East Europe, who have repeatedly criticized the CAP for awarding France and Germany the biggest slices of subsidies, respectively €9.8 billion and €6.9 billion in 2009.
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