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EU Looks at Capping Farm Subsidies

Proposal to launch discussion period on change to the EU's Common Agriculture Policy.

European Union agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel presented a set of measures Tuesday proposed by the European Commission that would prepare the agriculture sector for possible future budget cuts.

The proposal would make direct farm payments more efficient, provide more marketing tools, and deal with issues such as climate change, food security and water management. Fischer Boel says changing the spending of about 40% of the EU's money will make a big difference for both farmers and consumers.

Likely to cause the most controversy is the capping and cutting payments to farmers and shifting money to rural development. Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Denmark would be most affected by a change, but it would also impact some of the newer EU countries in central Europe.

The proposal is aimed at creating a six-month discussion period of these ideas. Legislation on these suggestions would not be brought forward until May.

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