The EU's Farming Commissioner yesterday criticised Tony Blair for seeking reform of the Common Agricultural Policy two years after agreeing to it.
The UK took over the six-month presidency of the EU last Friday with Mr Blair making clear his intention to push for reform of the system of lavish farm subsidies under the CAP.
It has brought Britain into dispute with President Jacques Chirac who is determined to protect the generous CAP payouts to farmers, which heavily favour the French.
Speaking yesterday at the start of the four-day Royal Show in Warwickshire, Europe's largest agricultural showcase, EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel voiced her fears that the dispute was damaging public confidence in the union.
"I really don't know what intentions Mr Blair has. We have asked but haven't got a response to what Britain actually wants to change in CAP reforms. I haven't heard anything," Ms Fischer Boel said.
"I must say that I have the gravest concerns about some of the ideas around which much of this discussion is revolving. We need a stable financial framework to implement CAP reform and to organise rural development programmes for 2007."
The EU agreed to major reforms of the CAP in 2003, opting for a scheme that would pay farmers for the amount of land they farm rather than the amount they produce.
Ms Fischer Boel said it would be wrong to review the recently implemented reforms so soon.
"Breaking promises and making a game out of the livelihood of thousands of farmers and their families is no way to win the trust of sceptical citizens."
Food and Farming Minister Lord Bach said Britain wanted reform rather than abolition of the CAP.
Lord Bach said: "We are not calling for the extinction of the CAP, but for a fundamental look at how the EU can spend its resources on giving society at large the best possible chance to maximise the opportunities in the century that lies ahead."