The EU spends nearly 60-billion euros per year on farm subsidies. That’s about one-third of the E-U’s entire budget. But the European Commission has proposed to cut subsidies over the next several years — in part, to save money. The cuts may affect programs that aim to protect the environment.
Right now, the largest share of the subsidies goes to individual farms, in the form of direct payments. The subsidies are based on the size of the farm: bigger farms get more money; smaller farms get less. There’s also a direct subsidy for farms that take measures to help protect the environment.
The EU is currently negotiating its next budget, which will cover the period 2021 – 2027. Some details have been leaked to the media. German government officials have raised serious concerns that the proposed budget for farm subsidies doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment, and that it even proposes big cuts in payments to “green” farms.
The EU Commission has also proposed to give member states more of a say in how the subsidies are distributed. Critics say that this violates the E-U’s concept of a common agricultural policy. They claim that the proposal would allow some countries to reduce environmental standards so that their farm products can compete more effectively on world markets.