| PARIS, June 1
PARIS, June 1 The loss of Britain's net
contribution to the European Union farm budget after Brexit and
the upcoming reform of EU agriculture policy will require
tighter links between the bloc's two biggest farm powers,
according to France's farming minister.
Newly appointed Jacques Mezard, 69, who traveled to Berlin
on Monday, said he had agreed with his German counterpart
Christian Schmidt to work closely together, notably on the
consequences of Britain's departure from the 28-member bloc for
the future of the EU's farm policy (CAP).
"The priority is to preserve the Common Agriculture Policy
as a driver of European life", Mezard told Reuters in an
interview. "And this wish seemed totally shared by the German
Current geopolitical uncertainties, notably in the United
States, further increased the need for a strong cooperation at
EU level, he said.
"What is happening on the international stage, be it Brexit,
whether it is Western Europe's relations with President Trump
...has made a number of our European partners, mainly Germany,
think about the need to have a European vision, to stick
together, and to ensure that the Franco-German engine resumes
functioning in full harmony," Mezard said.
Still, negotiations will be toughened by uncertainties about
the final budget, with Brexit negotiations not expected to be
over before 2019.
There are tens of billions of euros that Britain may owe the
EU in widely varying estimates, while at the same time there is
the prospect of the EU losing Britain's total net contribution
to the bloc of around 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) per year.
($1 = 0.8905 euros)
(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Andrew Callus)