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Wednesday, 10 November 2004

EU Enlargement and Agriculture: Risks and Opportunities

This report warns that despite the Fischler reforms, agricultural developments after the accession of ten new member states to the European Union are likely to cause a great deal of social and environmental damage, partly due to flaws in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The main risks connected to CAP but also to the newcomers' entry into the single market include: increased use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers in fields, resulting in higher health risks, more water pollution, soil damage, and a loss of biodiversity. EU membership offers the new countries distinct opportunities:subsidies to boost organic agriculture and to maintain extensive farming on pastures and meadows; legislation on some hazardous pesticides, higher animal welfare standards, and legislation limiting pollution from farms, thus protecting public health.
It is now up to the new member state governments to make sure that EU membership and CAP money will provide quality food, rich biodiversity, clean rivers and rural jobs.