The paper aims at identifying the arguments used by the French government, trade unions and agricultural policy experts in the ongoing debate on the future of the direct payments system in the European Union. The trend towards further decoupling of direct payments seems inevitable and generally beneficial, but France remains rather reluctant. It emphasizes the problems related to land abandoning in certain regions and lower production in certain branches. The paper presents recent results of simulations concerning various decoupling scenarios, elaborated by leading French research institutes in the field of agricultural economics. Furthermore, the issue of capping direct payments is discussed. Finally, the strategic guidelines of the President of the Republic of France regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy are quoted.