Agriculture MEPs support end to EU set-aside:
A report produced for the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee has supported suggestions for an end to the EU set-aside scheme. The European Commission is considering ways to remove set-aside while still retaining its environmental benefits, as part of a review of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The set-aside rate was cut to zero for crop sowings in 2007/08 in view of low cereal stocks and adverse weather (Agrow No 529, p 9). However, the Committee report rejected plans to reduce subsidies paid to large farms, saying that this would be unfair to Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK and Spain. The Committee will vote on the report in February, followed by a full parliamentary vote in March. The Commission is holding a six-month consultation on the CAP review prior to drafting proposals this spring.