Agricultural subsidies and rural development projects swallow 46% of the 2005 budget.
France has traditionally been far and away the biggest recipients of these funds, as the bar chart below demonstrates.
Farmers from the 10 states that joined in 2004 began by receiving subsidies at 25% of the rate they are paid to farmers in the other 15 EU countries. That rate rose to 30% in 2005. Equality will be attained by 2013.
As a rule, agriculture plays a bigger role in the economies of the new member states than it does in the more developed economies of the older members. Poland will in time become a significant recipient of agricultural and rural aid.
However, the EU is under pressure to reduce agricultural subsidies in order to give developing countries a better chance to export food to Europe.