Speaking to the Farm Ministers of the EU-15 and the 13 candidate countries today, Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries called on both sides to be realistic as regards negotiating objectives. "In particular the candidate countries should shape their negotiating approach in a realistic way. It is of crucial importance that you do not raise false expectations amongst farmers. To insist on 100% direct payments and make this point over and over again will not be a winning strategy. Look at the whole package, which is much broader. I think it`s time to start stressing the positives. It is clear that the negotiating margins are narrow. This has been understood in some countries, whereas I am concerned about the confrontational statements I hear from others," he said. He presented "10 good reasons" for the Commission enlargement strategy (see IP/02/176), which foresees massive rural development support, while phasing in direct payments over ten years. "A new study (see IP/02/428) clearly shows that the integration of the new Member States in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is very likely to become a success story. The income situation of the farmers in the new Member States will improve significantly, " he stressed.