Comprehensive market price data from DG Agri

Following the recent interest in food price developments, DG AGRI has now released long-term monthly price data for a wide range of farm and first-stage processed products from its AGRIVIEW database. AGRIVIEW is a data warehouse providing a common repository for integrated data for DG AGRI which is normally only available to internal Commission analysts. For example, it includes financial information, market prices, tariff data, and data on export refunds. The market price data on a monthly basis from January 1997 until the most recent date, for both the EU on average and for individual member states, is now available for download as a 7MB Excel file from the DG AGRI website.

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Andris Piebalgs for Agriculture Commissioner?

With the CAP among the EU’s oldest and biggest policies, it’s something of a surprise that no country has nominated an ‘agriculture specialist’ for the commission. This makes for a challenge to select an able successor to Mariann Fischer Boel, who came to the post having served as Farms Minister in Denmark as well as having farming background herself. In Brussels it seems as if the front-runner is the current Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs of Latvia.

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G-21 an anti-reform bloc?

At various times in the history of the CAP, member states have formed informal groupings to address particular issues, e.g., ‘the Aachen Five’ and the agri-monetary system. The G-21, in effect led by France, is a much larger grouping which constitutes a qualified majority in the Council. It become the G-21 rather than the G-20 at a meeting in Vienna when Greece joined. This left only the four leading reform countries (UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden) outside the grouping, plus Cyprus and Malta – countries that have small farm sectors and may not have thought it worth the time and effort.

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Agricultural economists declare war on the CAP

I’ve always found the notion of ‘agricultural economists’ a curious one. As if the normal rules of economics don’t apply to agriculture and there’s need for a special discipline of agricultural economics. In universities agricultural economists are often housed in their own special departments, separate from the regular Economics department. I wonder if this alternate universe of agricultural economics might explain the state of agriculture policy, whether in the EU, the US or elsewhere. Anyway, today a group of agricultural economists from 22 EU countries has come out in favour of radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

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Co-financing the Common Agricultural Policy

As far as the CAP is concerned, probably the most radical proposal in the leaked draft of the Commission’s forthcoming communication on the future of the EU Budget, is for the introduction of co-financing. The draft suggests that a larger responsibility for CAP spending could be assigned to member states, with direct aids ‘co-financed by national contributions’. This would free up money in the EU budget for other policy areas like energy, foreign policy, economic growth, jobs and climate change.

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First Lisbon Treaty 'Euro-petition' takes aim at livestock subsidies

The Lisbon Treaty has been ratified and among it’s political innovations is a “citizens’ petitions” tool. Article 8B says that

“Not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.”

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First Lisbon Treaty ‘Euro-petition’ takes aim at livestock subsidies

The Lisbon Treaty has been ratified and among it’s political innovations is a “citizens’ petitions” tool. Article 8B says that

“Not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.”

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