EU to reveal how it intends to protect farmers in future EU trade deals
Brussels is ready to reveal how it intends to protect farmers in future EU trade deals, and to prevent them being squeezed by large retailers.
Two long-awaited reports - one on the impact of EU trade deals on agriculture and the other on improving farmers' positions in the food supply chain - are due to be published by the European Commission next week, after repeated delays.
While the reports themselves are unlikely to suggest major rule changes, they will force the Commission to show its hand.
They come at a sensitive time, after the last-minute signature of a controversial trade deal with Canada, and as deals with the US and the Mercosur bloc of countries are on the skids.
Separately, calls are growing to protect farmers from big players in global food supply chains, mainly large supermarket groups that MEPs and others accuse of driving down prices.
The European Parliament's agriculture committee is set to recommend more income support for struggling farmers in a vote on Tuesday.
The report, by French MEP Angélique Delahaye, suggests better terms for farmers in their contracts with producers and retailers, access to new mutual insurance funds to manage market risk, subsidised entirely by the EU budget, and special price observatories.
The EU has emergency measures to support farm incomes, on top of direct payments, but most are co-financed by governments and kick in only after a crisis hits.