All is not well in the European Union. The latest episode of a modest proposal by the Commission and the vigorous resistance from some member states has not exactly improved the dismal situation in which the EU finds itself. Once again, national egoisms seem to prevail over the common good. Commissioner Franz Fischler has presented a modest reform proposal in his Mid-Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the reaction from national governments clearly reflects how much it affects their pocket-books in the short term. France and Spain, the biggest net recipients of EU funds under the CAP, reject it, supported by Italy and other net recipients. Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and other net contributors welcome the idea in principle since they could expect, in the medium to long term, to have to pay less. While the idea is welcomed in principle, it is also clear that even the latter group cannot accept the proposal in its present form. Germany, for instance, demands deeper cuts to achieve a significant reduction in its net contributions.
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