Archive | May, 2008

“Notre Europe” brainstorming

The think tank “Notre Europe” just released a document on the future of the CAP. Notre Europe’s point of view is that because the health check (HC) is likely to lead mostly to short term adjustments, the “real” debate on the CAP is likely to take place before the next financial perspectives. The outcome could [...]

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Health Check ‘explainer’ by Roger Waite

Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts and long-time Brussels CAP watcher, has written a superb ‘health check explainer’ for, the US-based farm policy news source. The briefing covers what the health check is in terms of policy, process and politics. Highly recommended reading and reproduced in full below, with permission.

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Fischer Boel gives good soundbite

While many are disappointed by the lack of ambition in the Commission’s health check proposals, there’s no doubt that Commissioner Fischer Boel has been on form when it comes to the pithy soundbites.

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Health check reactions…

With the Commission’s proposals widely leaked before publication earlier today, there was plenty of time for those who take an interest in EU farming policy to precook their reactions. In this post, which I will endeavor to update over the next few days, I’ll try to bring together a summary of the most interesting responses.

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++Commission proposals published++

The Commission’s widely leaked proposals for the health check of the CAP are now available, together with various supporting documents and impact assessments. Analysis and reaction will follow on this site over the coming days. Watch the press conference live at 16.30 Brussels time on this AV link.

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Irish farmers: biting the hand that feeds them?

The Republic of Ireland will hold a referendum on ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on 12 June 2008. The Irish Farmers Association is urging a No vote, on the grounds that the EU’s push towards more open world markets in agriculture could expose them to competition from overseas, notably from Latin America. Ireland gets [...]

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What is happening to EU land prices?

The evolution of agricultural land prices and rents can be a good indicator of the effect of agricultural policy, because of the assumption that a significant proportion of the transfers to farmers as a result of such policy are capitalised into land values. Thus, changes in agricultural policy may have implications for land values, and [...]

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Farm land price boom

The cost of agricultural holdings across the EU has risen to record levels. However, this is not entirely good news for farmers. It makes it even harder for those who do not inherit to enter the industry, while only farmers wanting to retire can cash in. Tenant farmers face higher prices making life more difficult [...]

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US House of Representatives passes ‘veto-proof’ Farm Bill

Dan Morgan of the Washington Post reports on the legislative passage of a 5-year US Farm Bill, with a sufficient majority in the House of Representatives (318:106) to override any Presidential veto. President Bush had previously threatened a veto unless the Farm Bill would set a new upper limit on the size of subsidy payments [...]

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Commission proposal: more leaks

The Commission’s detailed proposals for legislation in the CAP health check have appeared on

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Darling’s daring bid for reform

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (aka Finance Minister) Alistair Darling wrote earlier this week to all his counterparts on the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) ahead of today’s meeting, setting out the case for a radical reform of the EU’s agriculture and trade policies. Specifically, he calls for the abolition of direct aids [...]

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Michael Pollan on the importance of culture in food

American journalist Michael Pollan has written some great books about food and farming, most notably the Omnivore’s Dilemma, which cast a critical eye at so-called Big Organic: the industrial mono-culture organic farmers and growers and big organic chain stores like Whole Foods Market. His new book In Defense of Food offers a manifesto for eating [...]

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EU food safety rules: Do as I say, not as I do

The timing, if not the chicken, is delicious. On the same day (and in the same newspaper!) that German farms minister Horst Seehofer called for the EU to export its standards of environmental, animal welfare and food production regulations to China and India, it has been revealed that member state governments have been covering up [...]

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Milk quota removal could cost EU farmers €4 billion

The elimination of milk quotas as currently foreseen in 2015 will result in a loss to producers of €4 billion, and a gain to consumers of €3.7 billion, according to research by economists at the Institut d’Economie Industrielle in Toulouse. The group were asked to evaluate the impacts of the expiry of the EU milk [...]

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Farm subsidies to airlines and cruise ships?

Earlier in the year a collaboration between German TV station Bayerischer Rundfunk’s Report München, Greenpeace and uncovered farm subsidies going to some unusual recipients: airlines and cruise ships. Recall that similar revelations about farm subsidies to golf courses, pony clubs and railway companies made headlines in the autumn of last year. Watch the report [...]

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Commission’s health check proposals leak again

This is the latest in a series of leaks of the Commission’s proposals for the health check, due on 20 May. The explanatory memorandum outlines the latest thinking on the various elements of the package including the issue of progressive modulation: a gradually rising level of compulsory modulation, with higher rates for recipients getting more [...]

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