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Common Agricultural Policy

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the CAP Mid-Term Review. [113961]

Commission proposals for reform of the CAP are under active discussion, most recently at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 26 to 27 May 2003, and subsequent meetings at official level. We expect these discussions to reach a critical stage at the Agriculture Council beginning on 11 June 2003.We are working hard for a positive outcome from that meeting which will benefit farmers, consumers, taxpayers, the rural economy, the environment and developing countries, and put the EU in a strong position to negotiate a successful outcome at the next round of WTO talks in September 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to remove the 10 per cent. set-aside obligation on farmers. [115213]

The 10 per cent. set-aside obligation on farmers is a condition of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support arrangements for the arable sector.In discussion of the European Commission's current CAP reform proposals we have made clear that we do not see a case for a continuing compulsory set-aside requirement if the full decoupling of support from production is agreed. But if set-aside is to be retained, we would want it to be operated flexibly in order to maximise the possible wider benefits.