VIENNA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Austria will fight hard against potential cuts to agricultural payments during European Union (EU) budget negotiations beginning Thursday and may even consider a veto, Agricultural Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich said Wednesday.
Over 40 percent of the EU budget is currently spent on agriculture, of which Austria receives 1.5 billion euros (2 billion U.S. dollars). Most of the money goes toward area payments for farms, as well as to rural development for things such as mountain farming and organic agriculture.
Should the plans of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy come into action, the payments for rural development will decrease by 30 percent, which Berlakovich said was "unacceptable," local broadcaster ORF reported.
Berlakovich said the main challenges of the future were food security, environmental awareness and climate protection and that the 2014-2020 financial framework should take these goals into account, and to not do so would be working against European goals.
He was not specific on how much funding Austria was prepared to accept as a minimum, but said the goal was "not less money than before," something Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has also said.