Archive | March, 2007

69 Ways to Reform the CAP

Analyses of the contents of the Commission’s Health Check Communication have heightened in recent days with the content of the leaked draft document reported in the agriculture press. Of particular interest from an environmental perspective, is the resurgence of the little applied Article 69. This article is housed within the current CAP legislation, Regulation 1782/2003, [...]

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Simpler – fine. Now, what about more effective?

The Commission review of Cross Compliance proposes some “simplifications” that may indeed make the cross compliance system easier to administer. However it does not address the real flaws of the system, and these have little to do with the alleged “burden” for farmers and civil servants.

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Commission announces relaxation of cross compliance system

The Agriculture Commission has today announced a series of changes to the cross compliance system under which European farm subsidy payments are made conditional on farmers meeting basic rules relating to farm management and environmental conservation. The thrust of the changes is to streamline the system, make it less onerous for farmers and for the [...]

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Cross compliance: tough new standards or money for nothing?

During last week’s furore over trading in CAP subsidy entitlements, the question of what farmers must do in return for their subsidy was raised. In a speech on 6 March 2007 in India, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said that the CAP’s new Single Farm Payment (SFP) is conditional on farmers observing “tough standards of [...]

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New market develops in farm subsidies

Given that milk quota has been actively traded in the UK, producing so-called ‘sofa milkers’, it should come as no surprise that Single Farm Payments are now being bought and sold. Agricultural brokers WebbPaton did fifteen deals in one day recently. The market has been described as ‘ferocious’ with rights to subsidies ‘flying off the [...]

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So, goodbye then, President Chirac

he announcement that he will be stepping down as French President by Jacques Chirac reminds us that for a long time France has had a head of state and government who has also seen himself as Minister of Agriculture. Two of his last public appearances were at the Paris agricultural show and a European summit [...]

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Investors buying up farm subsidies

The past week has seen a series of revelations in the media about the way that decoupled farm subsidies are operating in Scotland. It has become evident that farm subsidy entitlements are being sold by farmers and that investors – who may never have set foot on a farm – are buying up entitlements to [...]

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Three options for the future of the CAP

The chief economist of the CLA, Allan Buckwell, has been an academic and has worked for the Commission as well as for the landowners’ organisation, so what he has to say on the future of the CAP is worth listening to.

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‘Suspended pessimism’ remains Doha mood

Bilateral discussions have continued between the key participants in the Doha Round farm trade talks, most recently in London, but although clarification of the issues and what might be possible continues, there has been little real progress. Key participants in Geneva have described the overall mood as one of ‘suspended pessimism’.

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Biofuels may push up beer prices

I was giving a presentation on the CAP during this week and I was asked if ending it would threaten food security in Europe. My reply was that no one was advocating dismantling the CAP overnight, so any adjustments would be phased in, but that the real challenge to food security came from the rapid [...]

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Biofuels- a cold look at a hot issue

Biofuels have been all the rage lately among EU decision makers and Council seems bound on setting an ambitious new binding target for their use. As climate change has finally made it to the top of the political agenda biofuels are being hailed as the silver bullet. Everybody seems to agree they are also a [...]

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