Following the meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on December 7-8, 1998, in which little consensus was reached regarding the Parliament reports on Commission proposals in the context of the Agenda 2000 CAP reform, these will now be debated at the Plenary session in Strasbourg on January 13. However, the date for voting on the reports, originally set for January 14, has been postponed to the plenary session in Brussels on January 27. According to Parliament sources, there were too many divergences between the political groups on these delicate issues for any agreement to be reached at the Committee, but it is hoped that the two main groups, PPE and PES, will have reached a compromise before the plenary session.

Despite numerous points of contention, certain reports were partly approved during the Committee meeting. The report on the Commission's proposals regarding the financing of the CAP, which was prepared by MEP Jan Mulder (Nl, ELDR) was adopted with some amendments. The Proposals in question aim to integrate new policy areas into the Guarantee section of the European Agricultural Guidance Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and seek to consolidate the different rules and procedures for financing and controlling the CAP. On the issue of EAGGF coverage, Mr Mulder accepts the inclusion of rural development measures, specific veterinary measures and information measures within the Guarantee section, but does not accept that measures accompanying the restructuring of the fisheries should come under it. Mr Mulder is broadly in favour of proposals to introduce "co-financing" of EAGGF expenditure, provided a level playing field for producers is maintained and there is no renationalisation of the CAP, and although the committee was against this principle being wholly included in the Regulation, it envisaged the possibility of introducing it in the preamble under certain conditions.

The reports of both Lutz Goepel (D, EPP), on the Commission proposals to reform the common organisation of the market for milk and milk products, and Giulio Fantuzzi (I, PES), on the Commission's proposals in the area of cereals and arable crops, were only partly approved by the Committee. Indeed, the committee rejected the Commission's proposal as well as the first part of Mr Goepel's report regarding the level of price support in the milk sector, but could not take any position on this in view of the divergences between...

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