Friday

23rd Feb 2018

UK royals could face EU cash cuts

The EU's richest landowners could face sweeping cuts in EU handouts with agriculture commissioner Marian Fischer Boel set to propose a ceiling on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments to individual holdings.

The move would hit, among others, the English royal family – one of the country's biggest landowners - with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles receiving in 2003-2004 around £1 million (€1.5 million) in CAP subsidies.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Hampton Court palace: the English royals stand to lose millions if the reform idea goes through (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

Ms Fischer Boel will look into the matter late next year and in early 2008 to help discipline the bloc's farm aid policy, which gobbles up almost half the EU's annual budget.

"As part of a health check of the CAP reform in 2007-2008, we will propose putting a ceiling on individual CAP payments," Ms Fischer Boel told the FT.

"At the same time we should consider further shifts of resources from direct payments to farmers to support for rural development, to create a broader base of employment."

Any money taken away from large landowners would be diverted into "rural development" funding, which is intended to help to "modernise" rural communities and increase employment off the land.

"It's far too early to start speculating where that ceiling might be," the commissioner's spokesman Michael Mann told journalists in Brussels.

A previous commission plan in 2002 to set a €300,000 per holding per year limit fell foul of member states with big farms, such as the UK and Germany, however.

A British official in Brussels who faught against the 2002 scheme said the limitations would unfairly penalise farmers who built large and efficient holdings.

"The commission has this culture that small farms is how you do farming," he told UK daily The Telegraph.

Collective farmers in the former east Germany are also likely to be badly affected.

But countries such as France, where small farm holdings are common, are more likely to accept any subsidy ceiling proposals.

However, figures by international NGO Oxfam show that the biggest French farming businesses pocket the vast majority of EU agricultural subsidies.

Oxfam research released late last year revealed that the top 15 percent of French farming companies consume 60 percent of the direct payments from the EU's coffers.

French agro-giants scoop lion's share of EU farm aid

Fresh figures by international NGO Oxfam show that the biggest French farming businesses pocket the vast majority of EU agricultural subsidies, just as Paris is sittting down in Brussels to haggle over the common agricultural policy (CAP).

EU agrees more transparency in farm aid

EU agriculture ministers have agreed new transparency rules to make it clearer who receives what from the bloc's generous farm coffers.

Baltic states demand bigger EU budget

The leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania say in a joint letter that they are open to talks on creating "new own resources" for a bigger EU budget after the UK leaves the EU.

EU-Latin America trade talks move to 'endgame'

Senior negotiators in the EU-Mercosur talks will meet in Brussels on Friday to work out the technical bits of a possible trade deal, after top political officials gave the talks a final push.

Opinion

Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme

Growth predictions are positive, exports increasing, unemployment dropping and credit-ratings up, says the head of Greece's Syriza delegation to the European Parliament. Now the government in Athens is looking to design its own reform programme.

Analysis

We are not (yet) one people

Talks on the next EU budget will start on Friday. Brussels wants to do much more than before – and needs a lot more money. But arguing about funds won't be enough.

News in Brief

  1. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  2. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  3. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired
  4. Luxembourg and Ireland pay highest minimum wages
  5. Freedom of expression under threat in Spain, warn MEPs
  6. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  7. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  8. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  2. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  3. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  4. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  5. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  6. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  7. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  8. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'