By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union negotiators this week failed to agree reforms to the bloc’s huge farming subsidy programme, with talks due to resume in June on rules to protect small farms and curb agriculture’s environmental impact.
The EU is nearing the end of a three-year struggle to reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP will spend the roughly one-third of the EU’s 2021-2027 budget — 387 billion euros — on payments to farmers and support for rural development, with the new rules kicking in from 2023.
The revamp aims to curb the environmental impact of agriculture, which is the most frequently reported pressure on Europe’s habitats and species and is responsible for 10% of EU greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ultimately, although progress was made in several areas, a number of key issues remained outstanding. It was therefore decided to postpone talks until the next meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers in June,” EU member states said in a statement on Friday.
An EU official said on Friday no deal could be reached because after all-night talks on Thursday, EU member states had not agreed on a compromise to put forward in negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission.
Informal talks may continue on Friday, but no decisions could be taken until formal negotiations resume in June, the official said.
EU agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said negotiators were “very close” to a deal and he hoped to reach an agreement in June.
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