MEPs on the Agriculture Committee have sided with the Commission over the question of scaling farm payments so that bigger farms receive less: Scaling .
Such an idea has always been unpalatable to Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic which have a disproportionate share of larger farms. It was rejected by the Farm Council earlier this year, but farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos has continued to favour it. It has never been clear how practical it is, given that a farming business could be constituted as single different legal entities.
The MEPs assumed that the farm budget will remain the same as it is now. The CAP has some stout defenders but in a time of austerity and with many competing uses for the available funds, it is difficult to see some cutback being avoided. The MEPs also favoured the 'greening' of the policy but it is often Pillar 2 schemes that suffer when the budget has to be cut.
Of course, cutting back payments to larger farms would give some headway in the budget, but not that much. Underlying all this is the perpetual muddle about what the priority ordering of CAP objectives is, but in practice fostering an efficient and competitive European agriculture (which is what most larger farms do) often loses out.