Like every spring, Guillaume Lefort sits at his computer labelling all his farm’s fields on a map, an annual ritual of registering for subsidies from Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy.
“Wheat is here, that’s cilantro, and next to it the field is fallow,” Lefort says. “Without the CAP money, we wouldn’t manage. It wouldn’t be possible.”
Like other French farmers, he will be watching the outcome of the EU Parliament elections next month, which will lead to a new slate of European Commission officials.
One of the Commission’s first tasks will be to help draft a new 2021-2027 budget along with member states which will affect the CAP money that is a cornerstone of EU spending and a lifeline for millions of farmers across the bloc.
It represents the biggest line in the EU’s budget, representing 37 percent of the total in 2017, and is either defended as a vital way of protecting rural livelihoods, or a over-generous and misdirected