Commission proposals: so what happens next?

As DG Agriculture’s spokesman Michael Mann has been keen to stress over the past few days since the publication of the Commission’s communication on the CAP health check, this is just the start of the process of deliberation and debate. Dr Tamsin Cooper of the Institute for European Environmental Policy has written a useful briefing on the next steps in the process.

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So how green is the Health check “green paper”?

The Commission’s “CAP Health Check” communication acknowledges the fact that European Farming and countryside face unprecedented environmental challenges: continuous biodiversity decline, increasing climate change and a looming water crisis. The Communication fails however to come up with credible proposals for dealing with these challenges. It was hoped that the Commission would use the Health Check to outline a long-term sustainable vision for European farming and land management. Instead, the Communication seems bent on a business as usual scenario.

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Specious arguments against limiting payments to largest farms

Initial media reaction to the Commission’s Health Check proposals has been predictable, with most papers picking up as the lead story the Commission’s proposal to apply a tapering reduction to direct payments to larger farms. The Financial Times story was headlined “Communists and royalty fight farm subsidy cuts.” Much was made of the fact that the Commission’s illustrative proposals would reduce the payments received by the Queen of England, who apparently received £465,000 (€650,000) in 2005, by over £140,000 (€192,000). British and German officials were quoted as saying they would oppose these reductions as they were unworkable and undesirable.

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Commission proposals lack ambition

Later today the European Commission will present its proposals for changes to the Common Agricultural Policy – for so long an emblem of bureaucracy, waste and injustice. This will be the first reform since details began to emerge from top secret government files about exactly who gets what from the €55 billion Europe spends each year on farm subsidies. After a landmark FOI case by The Guardian in 2005, revelations about farm subsidies paid to the Queen (£466,667 in 2005), the Duke of Westminster (£526,136) and Sir Richard Sutton (£917,650) hit the headlines across Europe.

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European Agriculture: un tour d'horizon

The debate over the future of the CAP will begin in earnest next week with the Commission’s proposals for the ‘health check’. Just in time comes an excellent new website that offers a view of the agricultural situation in each of the 27 EU member states. This is a much needed resource that combines official data and expert analysis in a readable and analytically comparative way. It is an excellent factual companion for anyone looking at the diversity of European agriculture and the different policy paradigms that prevail across the EU.

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European Agriculture: un tour d’horizon

The debate over the future of the CAP will begin in earnest next week with the Commission’s proposals for the ‘health check’. Just in time comes an excellent new website that offers a view of the agricultural situation in each of the 27 EU member states. This is a much needed resource that combines official data and expert analysis in a readable and analytically comparative way. It is an excellent factual companion for anyone looking at the diversity of European agriculture and the different policy paradigms that prevail across the EU.

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Sneak peak at latest health check leak

Anyone itching to find out what the Commission will be proposing for the CAP health check next Tuesday 20 November need look no further. DG Agri is as leaky as the proverbial sieve and after the jump we have for your reading pleasure the latest version of the consultation document, including a markup of changes made since the AgraFacts leak back in October.

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Remembering Secondo Tarditi

Readers of CAP Health Check will recall the death earlier this year of Secondo Tarditi, who was one of its founding members. Ulrich Koester of the University of Kiel in Germany, and a close friend and colleague of Secondo, has written an appreciation:

The international community of agricultural economists has lost a highly respected colleague. Secondo Tarditi lost the fight against his sudden illness. He passed away in Rome on June 14, 2007. Secondo had an outstanding career.

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Why agricultural policy reform is so difficult

Over on the excellent VoxEU site, Thomas Hertel, Roman Keeney and Alan Winters try to answer the question why agricultural policy is so difficult to reform, as illustrated by the way in which difficulties in getting agreement on reduced agricultural support and protection has been one of the factors preventing progress in the Doha Round. They take issue with one justification for preserving rich countries’ agricultural protection that it helps poor farmers in the North while the benefits of liberalisation would go only to rich farmers in the South.

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