- Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Photo: Council of the European Union 2009)
Taking up to around 40% of total expenditure, agriculture has traditionally been the biggest sector of the EU budget. Most spending is distributed according to the size of the farms and is paid as direct income to the farm entities. There have been further recent proposals to cap the subsidies.
The then Danish Commissioner for Agriculture, Mariann Fischer Boel, in 2006 proposed a cap at €300,000 in individual farm subsidies.
That proposal would have hit 41 Danish farms and estates, 1000 in Germany and 330 in Britain. Germany and the UK are the two countries that rejected such a ceiling. In the EU's largest agricultural country, France, only 30 farms would have been hit by the proposal.
The names of individual farm recipients of agricultural subsidies are now published in Denmark and many countries. In 2006 the European Parliament rejected a proposal which would have eliminated all funding above € 40,000 per farm unit. This proposal would have affected 8% of all EU farmers, but would have reduced the agricultural budget by an estimated 40%.