Critics allege, farmer not fit for farm commissioner

August 18, 2004, as reported by The European Commission’s newly appointed farm commissioner is already coming under fire from critics who are seeking resignation due to conflict of interests. Critics maintain Mariann Fischer Boel, of Denmark, will be unable to objectively handle farm the commission’s farm relations including representation at the World Trade Organization because Boel is a farmer.

The farm which is owned by Boel and run by her husband has lead to legal obstacles that could prevent Boel from accepting the four year position.

The argument focuses on the fact that the farm - like most others - receives substantial EU subsidies. This could break EU rules, and the Commission says that its lawyers are investigating the issue.

Meanwhile, incoming Commission president José Durão Barroso says he has complete "confidence" in Fischer Boel, who says has been stressing the fact that her husband runs the family farm and that her personal business affairs had not caused problems in her current post of Denmark's agriculture minister.