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Tricky EU Farm Reforms In New Hands

The European Commission’s president defended his naming of Dacian Ciolos to the tough job of EU farm chief Nov. 27, dismissing criticism the Romanian ex-minister does not come from a big agricultural producer.

Ciolos, 40, nominated to be commissioner for agriculture and regional development, inherits the task of guiding reforms of the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which eats up more than 40 per cent of the 27-country bloc’s budget.

The European Union plans to revise the CAP and the budget that goes with it. A leaked draft budget reform document from the commission last month showed that it plans to shift more of its spending to climate and energy.

The agriculture budget faces substantial cuts that could anger farmers and require difficult negotiations.

Answering questions about his nominations for the new commission in Brussels, its president, Jose Manuel Barroso, dispelled suggestions from journalists that Ciolos might not be up to the task because Romania has a relatively small farm sector.

“He is by far the most competent of all the names I received for this job. If you look at his curriculum, there is no question about it, and he has been working almost all his life in this field,” Barroso said.

Independent -leaning Ciolos trained as an agroengineer in France. He held the position of agriculture minister in Romania from October 2007 to December 2008.

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