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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sarkozy: France needs no excuse to defend EU farm policy

Delivering a speech to the French agricultural community on 18 January, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said debate on reform of EU farm policy for the post-2013 era and bailouts of financially troubled EU countries were linked. reports. In recent weeks, France has been forced to defend the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) amid particularly difficult budgetary negotiations. Yesterday again, Sarkozy stressed his commitment to maintaining a strong CAP in the EU's next budgetary cycle after 2013. He noted that the European Commission had already made important concessions to the WTO on farm policy and said he would work to maintain the CAP budget at its current level at least, even after the reform. The French president also said that debate on EU farm policy reform and bailouts of financially troubled EU countries were linked. France has already committed nearly €100 billion to helping those countries and in doing so has shown European solidarity. "We do not have to excuse ourselves for defending Community preference and the CAP budget," Sarkozy said. Farmers are producers of agricultural goods, not maintenance workers, he added, sending a message to those who want to 'green' the CAP, which would see a reduction of subsidies related to production.

Source: Euractiv France