HC Deb 10 July 2003 vol 408 c907W
Mr. Best

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government has for further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. [123686]

Mr. Bradshaw

The Government will be consulting shortly on the options available for reforming the operation of the Common Agricultural Policy in the UK, following the agreement reached at the Agriculture Council on 26 June.

The Government are keen to press ahead as well with reforms to the sugar, tobacco, olive oil and cotton regimes and with reviews of the wine and fruit and vegetable regimes of the CAP. We await the European Commission's proposals for these sectors, which it has indicated it will bring forward in the autumn.

Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how she estimates the UK's contribution to the CAP will be affected by the accession of 10 new EU members. [123752]

Mr. Bradshaw

The UK contributes to the EC budget as a whole and not to the CAP specifically. The costs of extending the CAP to the new member states have been limited by respect for the Berlin expenditure ceilings for enlargement-related expenditure for the period 2004 to 2006. The Copenhagen European Council agreed 40.85 billion euros (1999 prices) over 2004–06 for the 10 new member states, well within the enlargement-related ceiling set by the 1999 Berlin European Council for sixs potential members. Of this, a total of 9.8 billion euros was agreed for agriculture.

For the period 2007–13, the Brussels European Council in October 2002 set ceilings for CAP market support and direct payments. The Commission estimate that for the new member states, direct payments and market support will cost 6.3 billion euros in 2013. However, such expenditure for the EU 25 has been limited in nominal terms to annual growth of 1 per cent. per year from 2006. This is an important constraint on market distorting subsidies. It means that, notwithstanding accession, the cost of CAP direct support should fall in real terms. Rural development ceilings have yet to be determined for the years 2007 onwards.