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EU meat production support could face budget axe, officials warn

By Keith Nuthall , 16-Nov-2012
Last updated on 16-Nov-2012 at 11:21 GMT

€140m meat and livestock market intervention budget is facing deep cuts.
€140m meat and livestock market intervention budget is facing deep cuts.

European Commission officials have warned that the European Union’s (EU) annual €140m meat and livestock market intervention budget is facing deep cuts.

Heads of government will meet on 22-23 November in Brussels to agree an overall 2014-20 EU spending deal. And officials warn new proposals from European Council president Herman van Rompuy demand additional de facto cuts of 10.8% in all Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) spending – above an already planned 12% reduction.

Food production support is being targeted by governments wanting reduced EU spending to ease Europe’s financial crisis, although the cuts have been opposed by the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Commenting, EU agriculture spokesman Roger Waite warned: “This would severely disrupt our system of direct payments, and devastate future rural development programmes. Every element of CAP spending is facing cuts.”

Vulnerable meat and livestock programmes include this year’s annual €36m beef and veal market refunds for producers; €9m refunds for live beef and veal cattle; €10m refunds for pigmeat producers facing low prices; €12m for storage of unsold pigmeat; and €65m for poultry  producer refunds.

One official highlighted geographically-remote food production as one area “probably” facing especially “substantial cuts”. This €389m budget covers EU-run territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean. French Guyana, for instance, exports turkey and pigmeat.

Rural development spending would be cut 19% under van Rompuy’s proposals – which would cover meat sectors in poorer rural areas where livestock can be a dominant industry.

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