Franco-Germans win concessions on CAP Review

APART from a few commas, the CAP Review is as agreed at a recent meeting in Berlin between the French and Germans, said French Farm Minister Herve Gaymard.

He said the accord was a result of the special relationship between the two countries, which struck an informal agreement in Berlin on how to proceed in the negotiations.

"In reality it is the Franco-German couple which has allowed the EU move forward and come out of this with our heads held high" said Gaymard.

The French have also raised hackles by claiming the Review preserves the essential principles of the Common Agricultural Policy (and, in particular, the tools of economic regulation of markets.)

However, European Agriculture Commissioner claims the CAP has entered a new era, and this allows him to adopt a much stronger negotiating position in the WTO talks.

Furthermore, even if some aspects of the Review hurt French farmers, the Government has announced its intention to compensate every one of their farmers who loses out.

A top member of President Jacques Chirac's Ruling UMP party said that any French farmer who lost out under the reform could expect some form of compensation.

"Farm Minister Herve Gaymard will have to explain (the reform) to the farmers and follow it up that is to say, provide compensation, I hope at European level," Pierre Mehaignerie, Head of the French Parliament's Finance Committee, told France's LCI Television.

France has also made an early decision to choose to keep direct payment of 100% of suckler cow subsidies and 40% of the slaughtering subsidy.

"Total decoupling would have brought about the destruction of our rural fabric," said Gaymard.

But the country's Young Farmers organisation said France had not defended their interests well enough in accepting a radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The Young Farmers body is part of the FNSEA, France's main farm union.

They are seen as closely aligned to President Jacques Chirac's ruling conservatives.

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