HC Deb 18 June 2002 vol 387 c296W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the prospects for reform of the common agricultural policy in the light of the conclusions reached at the General Affairs Council at Luxembourg on 10 June. [61877]

Peter Hain

[holding answer 17 June 2002]: The General Affairs Council on 10 June discussed the enlargement of the European Union. It did not reach any formal conclusions.

Along with Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, the UK wants to put to one side the question of extending direct payments to the candidates for farming until later in the enlargement negotiations. Most European Union member states are content with this proposal.

Reform of the common agricultural policy was not on the agenda at the General Affairs Council. Her Majesty's Government consider that the Commission's on the mid-term review of the common agricultural policy, due in mid-July, should make a substantive contribution to the process of reform of the common agricultural policy. Our objectives for reform are well known and are shared with a growing number of EU member states. We believe that the reform of the common agricultural policy should take place in parallel with, but not be a pre-condition for, enlargement.