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EU Lawmakers Reject Farm Policy Budget Cut

The European Union’s farm budget should be kept at least at its current level when the policy is reformed from 2014, an influential committee of EU lawmakers said May 25.

The common agricultural policy (CAP) budget is currently worth about 55 billion euros ($77.35 billion) a year, or around 40 per cent of the bloc’s total annual spend.

In a resolution adopted by 40 to one in favour, the European Parliament’s agriculture committee said the budget should be kept at its 2013 level “in order to meet the challenges of food security, environmental protection and climate change.”

The resolution is the Parliament’s last chance to spell out its priorities for the reform before the European Commission comes forward with detailed legislative proposals later this year.

The resolution text must still be approved by the full parliament, but the lawmaker responsible for drafting it said he thought members would back its call to maintain farm spending.

“My experience is that when it comes to the agricultural sector, the parliament tends to adopt any vote coming from the agriculture committee,” said German centre-right lawmaker Albert Dess.

EU countries including France, Poland and the Netherlands have also called for the CAP budget to be kept at its present level in the reform, pitting them against the likes of Britain and Sweden, who want to see a significant cut in farm spending.

The commission is due to make its proposals for the EU’s next long-term budget from 2014-20 in June, followed by proposals for the CAP refom in October, both of which must be approved by EU governments and lawmakers.

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