EU elections: parties clash over farm policy

The free-market Liberals (VVD) would like to abolish EU farm subsidies and replace them with national contributions, Hans van Baalen, the party’s EU election campaign leader, was reported as saying by news agency ANP.

Van Baalen was speaking during radio debate between the leaders of the biggest parties fighting Thursday’s European elections.
But Christian Democrat campaign leader Wim van de Camp said the idea was nonsense. ‘If France is to subsidise French farmers and the Netherlands is to subsidise Dutch farmers it will be the end of the European market,’ he said.
Labour campaign leader Thijs Berman pointed out that Europe needed its farmers but said he was keen to see subsidies phased out in a humane way. ‘The Liberals in the European parliament have blocked that happening. I am glad Van Baalen now sides with us,’ ANP quoted him as saying.
Judith Sargentini, leader of the left-wing green party (GroenLinks) campaign, said the subisidies should be used to make farming more environment-friendly.
The EU spends some €40bn on farm subsidies every year, ANP said.
‘The Netherlands pays the most to these daft farm subsidies and we should stop,’ said Barry Madlener, who is leading the campaign for the anti-Islam PVV. ‘We can better use that money to pay the police in the Netherlands than GroenLinks’ mad windmills.’

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