Late night breakthrough brings EU closer to deal on farm subsidies

FILE PHOTO: Sheep are pictured at "La Ferme d'Etaules" farm in Etaules, France, February 23, 2021. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union negotiators struck a deal on contentious parts of the bloc's farming subsidy policy in the early hours of Friday morning, raising hopes of an agreement on the overall package.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states are attempting to end a three-year struggle over the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will spend 387 billion euros, a third of the EU's 2021-2027 budget, on payments to farmers and support for rural development.

The aim is to divert more money to smaller farms, rather than supporting big agro-industry businesses, and ensure that cash is spent in ways that protect nature and cut the 10% of EU greenhouse gases emitted by agriculture.

"We are very close to a good compromise. Closer than ever. We made a huge progress overnight on most sensitive issues," said EU agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who participated in the talks.

Negotiators agreed on rules to require countries to spend 20% of payments to farmers from 2023-2024, rising to 25% of payments between 2025-2027, on "eco-schemes" that protect the environment, according to a document seen by Reuters. Examples of eco-schemes could include restoring wetlands to absorb CO2, or organic farming.

Any funds below those limits that are not spent on eco-schemes must be spent on green measures in other areas instead.

Parliament had wanted a higher 30% share, while member states' starting point in the talks was 20%.

The new CAP rules apply from 2023.

Other tentative agreements included rules requiring EU countries to redistribute at least 10% of CAP funds to smaller farms. Countries could dodge this requirement if they use other methods to distribute the funds fairly.

Talks resumed on Friday morning, for the final scheduled day of negotiations.

EU auditors this week said the current CAP was failing to reduce emissions, despite spending 100 billion euros in "climate-friendly" subsidies since 2014. EU agriculture emissions, half of which come from livestock, have not decreased since 2010.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Sudan military-civilian tensions reach low point in wake of coup attempt
San Marino votes to legalise abortion in historic referendum
Sudan protesters agree to resumption of South Sudanese oil exports
Mexico to resume voluntary flights for migrants who want to return to Haiti
Factbox-Germany's election in polls, facts and figures
Iran fails to fully honour agreement on monitoring equipment, IAEA says
How politicians reacted after exit polls from Germany's election
Far-right AfD sees silver lining in weak result: Merkel is out
German CDU's Laschet vows to try to build conservative-led government
Senior CDU politician says Jamaica coalition possible

Stories You'll Enjoy