Together with Hungary, twenty Member States would not reduce their agricultural subsidies



At the last meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, together with Hungary, a total of twenty Member States refused to reduce the resources of the Common Agricultural Policy.

At the Council meeting, the Ministers of Agriculture of 20 EU Member States endorsed a joint statement calling for the resources available for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be kept at their current level for the next EU budget cycle. Hungary cannot accept a larger reduction than the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, so keeping CAP funds at the current EU-27 level is a minimum requirement, said Zsolt Feldman, state secretary for agriculture in Luxembourg.

In addition to the Eastern European Member States, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain also supported a joint statement by the Minister of Agriculture proposing to keep CAP funds at the current EU-27 level. With the resignation of one of the biggest contributors, the United Kingdom, there is no realistic way to keep the current CAP budget of EUR 382 billion, but Hungary can only accept a reduction that can be justified by British exits, the Hungarian delegation emphasized.

The Secretary of State recalled that the European Commission proposes that in the case of Hungary, CAP resources should be reduced by almost 17 percent over the current programming period between 2021 and 2027. Rural development would suffer the greatest loss of resources, with 26 pc less EU funding. It is unacceptable to reduce this level of aid while the proposed regulation would place a significantly greater burden on producers. We cannot ask for more from farmers while reducing resources, ”said Zsolt Feldman.

The decision on the next seven-year EU budget, including the amount to be spent on the CAP, will be made by the Heads of State and Government, but the current stance of the 20 Agriculture Ministers is certainly an important political message for future negotiations. The importance of the initiative is increased by the fact that donors include both old and the new Member States as well as net contributors and beneficiaries.