On the 10th, the French government invited the agricultural ministers of 21 EU member states to meet in Paris to discuss the issue of EU agricultural subsidies.
The other five EU member states with serious differences with France on agricultural subsidies - Britain, Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden - were not invited to participate.
The agricultural ministers of the 22 EU member states participating in the meeting signed a joint declaration calling on the 27 EU countries to act together to introduce a "strong" EU common agricultural policy. However, no consensus was reached on such key issues as the amount of agricultural subsidy budget and the source of funds.
The discussion at this meeting focused on the trend of EU common agricultural policy after 2013. Since the current EU medium-term budget, which was hard reached by EU member states in 2005, will expire at that time, how to make arrangements for the common agricultural policy in the next 7-year medium-term budget has become the focus of the participants.
The Common Agricultural Policy has always been the most expensive part of the EU budget. In the EU budget last year, the expenditure on the common agricultural policy accounted for 47% of the total budget, a considerable part of which was used for controversial agricultural subsidies.
As a major agricultural country in the EU, France has always been the biggest beneficiary of the EU's common agricultural policy, and advocates retaining EU agricultural subsidies with huge expenditure. On the contrary, Britain and other countries have received less agricultural subsidies, so they hope to reduce the amount of EU agricultural subsidies.