EU unity on agriculture reform
After two years of negotiations, the European Union agriculture ministers have agreed on what the future of agriculture should look like in the EU.
Sweden's agriculture minister Eskil Erlandsson of the Center Party told Swedish Radio news that the agreement covers how the agricultural subsidies should be divided in future. He said it will become more evened out between member countries, but that parts of it will be specifically directed to young farmers as well as small-scale farmers.
Another marked change in the agreement is that 30 percent of direct support to farms shall be linked to environmental measures by the farmers. Concretely, this could mean that a farmer who saves a piece of forest among his fields to protect a bird species will be rewarded.
Around 40 percent of the EU budget is currently spent on agriculture. France gets most support, while Malta gets the smallest part.
The new policy will take effect from 2014.