‘EU farmers to cover the cost of future price support measures’

EU farmers may well be asked to, at least, part fund future market support measures, according to a European Commission source.

The days are over when EU taxpayers can be expected to cover the cost of a €1 billion support package, as has been the case over the past two years, the source told Agriland.

“In the future farmers will be expected to, at least, part cover the cost of market support measures. And this may well take the form of an insurance scheme, which producers pay into.

“The issue of future market support measures, and the form they take, is high up [Commissioner Hogan’s] list of priorities at the present time.”

The source also confirmed that the Commissioner will take a decision on whether or not he should commit to a mid-term review of the CAP prior to Christmas. However, the general belief in Brussels is that members of the European Parliament will put sufficient pressure on Hogan to make this a reality.

“But we are not talking about a fundamental review of the CAP, as was the case with Commissioner Franz Fischler. For one thing, the next elections to the European Parliament are now less than three years away. And it would not be possible to have a root and branch review of the CAP undertaken within this time frame,” the source said.

“Commissioner Hogan has been firefighting the significant slump in farmgate prices, across all sectors, since taking office. Pig returns stabilised earlier this year and there is now growing evidence confirming that milk prices are starting to rebound.

“This now provides the Commissioner with an opportunity to turn his attention to other important [issues], one of these being the sustainability of Europe’s agri-food chain.”

The Commission has also confirmed that Commissioner Hogan will not be attending next week’s Ploughing Championships in Tullamore.