Dairy sector measures do not set pulses racing

4000 dairy farmers with 900 tractors demonstrated outside an EU agricultural ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday calling for more aid for the sector. Inside, ministers faced a Franco-German memorandum backed by 20 member states with a series of demands for market distorting measures. In the event the concessions the Commission made are probably the least they could have got away with in the circumstances. Farmers’ organisation COPA immediately condemned them as insufficient.

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Fischer Boel's 'last feather' plucked

Earlier in the month I wrote that Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was holding the line against protesting dairy farmers and a clutch of national agriculture ministers looking for more aid for their troubled farmers. It looks as though I spoke too soon. At this month’s farm council, Commissioner Fischer Boel found a further 280 million euro from the 2010 budget to give to dairy farmers, in addition to measures announced last month.

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Fischer Boel’s ‘last feather’ plucked

Earlier in the month I wrote that Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was holding the line against protesting dairy farmers and a clutch of national agriculture ministers looking for more aid for their troubled farmers. It looks as though I spoke too soon. At this month’s farm council, Commissioner Fischer Boel found a further 280 million euro from the 2010 budget to give to dairy farmers, in addition to measures announced last month.

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One year after the budget review conference: What has happened with the CAP reform process?

Until recently, I have walked through Brussels with this grey-blue bag that all participants of the 2008 budget review conference received. In the meantime, it has fallen apart, and I don’t have anything to replace it. This is somewhat similar to the CAP & EU budget debate: the 2008 conference presenting the results of the consultation process briefly attracted broad attention, but subsequently, the debate fizzled out and was overwhelmed by the financial and economic crisis.

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Fischer Boel holds the line on milk

Regular readers of this blog will know by now that I don’t count myself among Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel’s greatest fans. I think she fudged what turned out to be a very costly reform of sugar subsidies, bears a share of the responsibility for the collapse of the Doha Round, missed a golden opportunity to reform the CAP during the ‘health check’ and – perhaps above all – has failed to articulate an intellectually robust vision for the future of European agriculture policy. She is stepping down soon and this task will fall to her successor. However, I will give credit where it’s due and she’s doing a fine job of holding the line against protesting dairy farmers seeking more government aid.

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