French put CAP centre of the agenda

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French politicians who will play a key role in deciding the shape of the next Common Agricultural Policy have unveiled their thoughts on how their farmers should receive support.

Speaking in Brussels, new French agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll suggested that all farmers would receive a basic area payment but that would be doubled on the first 50 hectares for all those who kept suckler cows. He said that would help secure the French beef sector.

One of those listening to the French proposals was Scottish MEP George Lyon, who said: “The proposal raises numerous questions as to how it would work. One that immediately springs to mind is how to prevent farmers splitting their businesses into 50 hectare units to get the higher payments.”

The minister also announced the French position on the EU budget which was to cut it to 1 per cent of gross national income.

They did not want to see any further substantial cuts made to the CAP budget, already cut by 10 per cent under the Commission’s plans.