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Copa-Cogeca Opposes EU Proposal to Cut Agriculture Spending 3%

European farm lobby Copa-Cogeca opposed a European Union proposal to cut agriculture spending by 3 percent in 2011, saying further pressure on farmers’ incomes is “unacceptable.”

The EU Commission, Parliament and Council should revise the draft budget when they meet Dec. 6, Brussels-based Copa-Cogeca said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Farm spending must be increased, compared to 2010, in line with the increase in the total EU budget,” Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said in the statement. “This is vital to ensure a flourishing EU agriculture sector.”

The commission, the EU’s executive arm, on Nov. 26 adopted a new draft budget after the parliament and council rejected an earlier version. The new budget would cut payments for agriculture and rural development to 56.4 billion euros ($75.4 billion) in 2011, or 41 percent of the EU’s total budget.

“It is totally unacceptable to put further pressure on EU farmers’ livelihoods,” Pesonen said.

Overall EU payments would climb 2.9 percent to 126.5 billion euros, based on last week’s budget proposal.

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