Archive | July, 2007

Puzzle over co-decision

It is far from clear how agricultural issues will be dealt with under co-decision once the reform treaty is enacted. Under current rules, most CAP dossiers are decided under the ‘consultation’ procedure, where the Council must wait for an EP opinion, but has no obligation to incorporate EP amendments into the final text.

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Good prospects for dairy reform

A particular milestone in the CAP was passed last month when the European Commission set export refunds on dairy products to zero for the first time ever in the management of the EU dairy regime. This reflects the extraordinary jump in world market prices for milk products in the past twelve months, with prices for [...]

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Set-aside: ensuring the environmental benefits

Ariel Brunner in a recent post lamented the fact that the EU has proposed to set the rate of compulsory set-aside to 0% for the 2008 harvest without putting in place alternative measures to secure the environmental benefits which set-aside land provides. The reason why the decision only concerns autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings [...]

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Less likelihood of cuts in Single Farm Payment

The Irish Farmers’ Journal reports that the value of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) is not likely to be greatly eroded by “financial discipline” cuts in order to accommodate the payments to new Member States within the European Union. This is because more buoyant farm prices mean that there will be huge cuts in the [...]

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Set aside: act now, think later…

Following a Swedish proposal and widespread support in the Agriculture Council, the Commission announced the intention to set the level of compulsory set aside at 0% for the 2008 harvest. This is bad news for Europe’s wildlife and suggests a disappointing level of commitment to environmental sustainability on the side of the EU and its [...]

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How not to reform farm subsidies (American style)

On the other side of the Atlantic the five-yearly federal farm bill debate is reaching its climax. A bill approved unanimously by the powerful House agriculture committee has been roundly attacked by reformers who wanted to see less in the way of multi-million dollar payouts to large agribusinesses and more resources for conservation programmes and [...]

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Europe becomes net food exporter

Last month the European Union suspended export subsidies for the dairy sector and following the 2005 reforms of sugar subsidies, Europe is set to become a net importer of sugar. It is also imports beef, soya and cereals, mainly from Brazil. Yet a new report (PDF) just issued shows that Europe has consolidated its position [...]

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Glimmer of hope over Doha

International trade negotiations have been the most effective driver of CAP reform for over fiften years. I haven’t commented on progress in the Doha Round for some time because prospects have looked so bleak since the collapse of the G-4 talks at Potsdam. But there does seem to be a glimmer of hope.

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The dairy paradox

British dairy farmers are leaving the industry in large numbers, but world milk and milk product prices are heading upwards fast. How can one explain this paradox? The simple answer is, of course, that the key UK liquid milk market is largely insulated from world market factors.

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Horse paddocks get SFP

In the long run it is going to be difficult to justify a Single Farm Payment (SFP) model that is based on historical receipts. This model originated in the generous compensation given to cereal farmers for cuts in intervention payments in the 1992 MacSharry reforms. There will be a shift to a regional model with [...]

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Corridor politics secure fruit and veg deal

The fruit and vegetable reform agreement is another step on the road to a more market oriented CAP. Yet in some ways it is more significant in terms of how it was secured and what it reveals about decision-making in an EU with 27 member states.

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European Commission split over biofuels

The European Commission is experiencing a bitter three-way split over biofuels policy, with no real sign of who will prevail. Chief among the biofuels boosters is DG Energy & Transport, which sees a rapid expansion of biofuel production and consumption as a core part of meeting high-level commitments to green energy and reducing dependency on [...]

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Productionists unite under food security banner

A number of producer interests would like to revive food security as a major driver of agricultural policy. Organisations like the Commercial Farmers Group (CFG) in the UK, a small grouping of leading producers, argue that new threats are present in the form of population growth, pandemic diseases, climate change, terrorist actions and increased demand [...]

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UK data on distribution of farm payments

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory recently published a statistical analysis of the breakdown of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) in England, one of the four regions for the purposes of administering the SFP scheme in the UK. The report analyses 2005 payments, with some historical [...]

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secondo

Sad news

It is with great sadness that I report to readers of CAP Health Check the sudden and unexpected death of Secondo Tarditi, one of the agricultural policy experts contributing their thoughts to this blog. A fuller appreciation of Secondo’s life and his contribution to European agricultural economics will follow. In the mean time we express [...]

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CAP policy instruments and policy goals: cause or effect?

Fellow blogger Wyn Grant presented a paper in Paris last month which presents a wide-ranging overview of the changes in CAP policy instruments since its inception to the present day. His basic thesis is that over time the instruments have changed much more than the objectives and that this does reflect a shift in the [...]

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Fischer Boel sets course for CAP Health Check

Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee in Nicosia, Cyprus on 29 June, Agriculture Commissioner laid out her current thinking on the future of the CAP, in particular the changes she will be proposing later this year for the CAP Health Check.

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UK Conservatives endorse the CAP

John Gummer MP, the former UK Agriculture Minister who is currently advising Conservative Party leader David Cameron on farm policy, has taken a swipe those in his party who call for a repatriation of the EU’s common agricultural policy: “There is no doubt at all that unless we get a kind of common deal in [...]

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Are biofuels to blame for agflation?

The UK’s consumer prices index showed annual food price inflation of 6 per cent in April, the highest level in almost six years and well ahead of overall inflation of 2.8 per cent. In the US, prices have risen by 6.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted, since the beginning of the year, compared to 2.1 per [...]

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