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France, Germany, Spain Back Stable Budget for EU Farming

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Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- France, Germany and Spain called for stable funding for the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, as the bloc negotiates the future of a system that accounted for more than two-fifths of its budget in 2011.

France’s Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll met with his German counterpart Ilse Aigner in Berlin yesterday and with Spain’s Miguel Arias Canete in Paris today, according to separate statements from the French and Spanish farm ministries. The ministers backed a European Commission proposal to maintain the farm budget at the level of 2013 for the period through 2020, according to the statements.

The EU’s budget for agriculture and rural development was 58 billion euros ($75 billion) in 2011, according to commission spokesman Roger Waite. The policy accounted for 44 percent of total EU spending last year, data from the bloc shows.

Le Foll, Aigner and Arias Canete “underline the importance of the CAP for growth, employment, the environment and innovation in Europe’s rural areas, as well as Europe’s contribution to global food balances,” the ministries wrote.

The three ministers underlined that they want to keep planting rights for vines and prolong the EU’s system of sugar quotas until 2020, according to the French and Spanish statements.

Le Foll and Aigner agreed to “a certain rapprochement” of the level of direct agricultural aid in EU countries, on the condition aid adjustments are “reasonable and progressive,” according to the French statement.

The French and Spanish ministers agreed that the EU proposal to keep agricultural aid unchanged is “an absolute minimum,” Spain’s ministry wrote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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