There is now deep split in the European Commission over how to pay for the EU's agriculture policy. In the past, any savings in one section of the farm budget (EAGGF) would have been clawed back to spending elsewhere ­ or even carried over from year to year. Budget commissioner Michaele Schreyer is now determined any savings should be managed by the rules and that excess funds should not be recycled, but returned to the general EU budget. This could limit export refunds. Schreyer's determination to work by the book is intended to make EU spending more "transparent". But it has left him in direct con ict with farm commissioner Franz Fischler and his of cials. The aim is to make the Common Agricultural Policy conform to accounting practice elsewhere in Brussels, whereby unspent budget returns to the central funds to be reallocated. Until now, EAGGF managers have sidestepped the normal procedures by carefully classifying all returns as "negative expenditure" and not as "receipts". The overall limit on agricultural spending already takes into account this annual claw-back, so depriving the CAP of returned payments would mean either cutbacks or harsher spending limits. Withholding this source of reserve funding for the 41 billion euro CAP is likely to push up the current £27bn budget by 0.7%. The real battle will come in talks over the coming budget, due out in May. While Fischler has conceded ground on specific central funding requests, he has insisted the CAP should not be considered a "goldmine" for future savings. {{PROVISIONS }}