EU fails to settle €270bn agriculture fight, postpones talks

Photo: European Union Taking part in this week's EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers Council meeting, from left, Spain’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas Puchades; Portugal’s Minister of Maritime Affairs Ricardo Serrão Santos; and Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

The 27 EU countries and European Parliament failed to settle their fight over the bloc's 270-billion-euro agriculture budget in their latest negotiation round this week, postponing talks on a policy that affects millions of farmers to a later day, DPA reports.

"There is no deal," spokesperson for the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council, Catarina Faria, told dpa. The next official round would be scheduled for "probably June," she said, but this was so far undecided.

Since Tuesday, representatives for the parliament, European Commission and 27 EU countries have negotiated until late into the night to decide on rules for how the Common Agriculture Policy's funds can be used.

Ultimately, however, "a number of key issues remained outstanding," according to a council press release. The three sides are at loggerheads over a host of issues. 

For example, the countries want to maintain flexibility in how spending criteria are applied, while the parliament insists that they should be regulated more strictly.

The next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) budget, which covers the years 2023 to 2027, is also controversial because it has huge ramifications for the environment.

Portugal has been pushing for an agreement to come through before its presidency ends at the end of June.

One of the negotiators for the parliament, Norbert Lins, said he was "very disappointed that the Portuguese Council Presidency has broken off negotiations today."

Faria said her country's minister for agriculture, Maria do Ceu Antunes, would have to meet her counterparts "so they can find a solution."

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