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Archive | June, 2008

Podcast: Latest on health check negotiations with Roger Waite

Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts, talks about how the Commission’s health check proposals have gone down in recent meetings of the Agriculture Council. Debate has been focused on the extent to which EU farm subsidies will be further decoupled from production levels. We look ahead to the French presidency which begins tomorrow and discuss [...]

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New Humboldt University report on global market trends

Another study forecasting higher real food prices for the next decade has recently been published by three authors associated with the Humboldt University in Berlin led by Professor Harald von Witzke. The working paper provides a useful qualitative survey of the reasons why agricultural supply will have difficulty in keeping up with the demand for [...]

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Barroso’s biofuels poll – update

A couple of week’s ago Berlaymole noted the mysterious disappearance of the online poll about EU biofuels policy from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The poll had asked respondents the following question: Should the E.U. stick to its target to reach 10% biofuels by 2020? – Yes – No The [...]

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Farm support tops 50 billion euros in 2007

With the release yesterday of new figures on EU expenditure in 2007, the Commission has been busy spinning the line that farm subsidies no longer account for the biggest item of Brussels spending. Most news outlets have been swallowing this line without taking a closer look at the figures which show that a full 50 [...]

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Manna from heaven? CAP ‘spare change’ to boost developing country farmers

Surging prices for agricultural commodities means that the EU spends much less on the traditional ‘market measures’ of the CAP such as intervention buying when prices fall below a target price, export subsidies and private storage aid for unsold surpluses. Last year the EU decided to allocate some of this underspend to the Galileo space [...]

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Rising food prices and the dangers of imported inflation

When UK Chancellor Alistair Darling wrote to his finance minister colleagues on ECOFIN last month he made the case for reducing agricultural trade barriers and EU farm subsidies as a way of addressing what has become known as the ‘global food crisis’. Quite rightly much of the world’s attention has been focussed on the impact [...]

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Animal welfare dilemmas

One of the advances made when Franz Fischler was farm commissioner was to recognise farm animals as sentient beings rather than agricultural products. This provided a basis for treating animal welfare as one of the planks of multifunctionality. However, a vet who is an animal welfare expert suggested in a talk (under Chatham House rules) [...]

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Barroso’s disappearing biofuels poll

For the past couple of weeks José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has been running an online poll on his website, asking visitors to express their opinions on EU’s biofuels policy. At the last count, some 89 per cent of the 60,000 respondents had voted for the EU to drop its biofuels targets, [...]

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Mapping the CAP 1: Google maps v farmsubsidy.org

Over at farmsubsidy.org you can see the first fruits of a mapping project which aims to place every EU farm subsidy payment on a fully interactive web-based map, powered by the excellent Google Maps. The first country to get the mapping treatment is Sweden, chosen because its government has been by far the most transparent [...]

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GM feed ban crisis

A row over the banning of GM feed by British supermarkets raises wider issues about how far new technology can be used to solve problems of world food shortage. There have been calls for a second ‘green revolution’, but the first green revolution was based on intensive use of fertilisers and irrigation. Fertilisers are rocketing [...]

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Irish farmers backtrack on Lisbon vote

Having previously run a highly visible campaign threatening to derail the imminent referendum on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on account of the EU’s negotiating position in the WTO, the Irish Farmers Association has fallen back into line with it’s longstanding position of support for Irish membership of the EU. As previously noted, Ireland does spectacularly [...]

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Danish Minister sets out her vision for the CAP

A recent interview with the Danish agriculture minister Eva Kjer Hansen, originally broadcast on Euronews. Denmark has traditionally been on the reform side of the arguments about the future of the CAP with a a free market approach but emphasising the importance of environmental conservation.

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Rethinking Less Favoured Areas

The Less Favoured Areas directive is one of the few examples of British influence on the design of the CAP. It was originally conceived as the Mountain Areas Directive with France pressing for a definition that would have excluded Britain’s hills and uplands. But the British emphasis on latitude rather than altitude won the day [...]

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