French President promises to safeguard EU farm payments

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to defend the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy budget after opening the annual Paris farm show.

Speaking just a day after talks on the next EU budget broke down, Mr Macron told farmers that France would continue to oppose cuts to farm payments, saying the CAP budget “...cannot be the adjustment variable of Brexit. We need to support our farmers.”

The UK’s departure from the EU will leave a 12% hole in the EU budget, meaning spending cuts must be implemented if increases in Member State contributions are to be avoided - and with spending on agriculture and fisheries currently making up around 40% of EU expenditure, the CAP budget is coming under increasing pressure. Around 9% of the EU’s CAP budget is currently allocated to the UK.

The impact of US tariffs on french farmers was also at the top of the agenda at the Paris show, as France’s wine sector fears up to €400 million euros in annual sales could be lost if a 25% US import tariff remains in place.
French exporters have estimated that the duties led to a €40 million fall US sales in the last quarter.Mr Macron promised to fight for compensation for French producers hit by the tariffs.