Archive | January, 2010

German call for reform of CAP payments

The German Council for Sustainable Development has issued a new call for reform of the CAP direct payments system, citing the damage done to the environment by intensive agriculture.

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ELO and BirdLife fire the starting gun

Nothing tells you that a big political debate is hotting up like the emergence of new alliances of odd bedfellows. Yesterday saw a major joint intervention from two of Europe’s biggest, most authoritative and well-connected players in EU agriculture policy.

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The BirdLife-ELO escapade

BirdLife International has made a mistake in getting into bed with the European Landowners Organisation

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Ciolos confirmation hearing poor reflection on the Parliament

It is now over a week since the confirmation hearing of Commissioner-designate for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos before the European Parliament, but it was only this weekend that I had the opportunity to listen to the EP’s video of the hearing itself. Commentary elsewhere on Mr Ciolos’ performance has been rather negative (my [...]

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What does co-decision have in store?

How the European Parliament uses its new decision-making powers after the Lisbon Treaty will help define the future of the CAP.

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Does France really want to suspend agri-environmental measures?

The president of the main farmers’ union, the Fedération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles (FNSEA) Jean Michel Le Metayer called for “a pause in agri-environmental measures” and the suspension of new measures. The Ministry of agriculture seems to have some sympathy for this position. While it turns out that it is more the GAECs than the MAEs that are at stake, this is illustrative of the French debate.

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Roger Waite the new voice of DG Agri

Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts and frequent podcast guest on this blog, has accepted the job of spokesperson for Agriculture Commissioner-designate Dacian Ciolos.

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BBC Documentary: A Farm for the Future

A Farm For the Future is a documentary that aired on the BBC last year. It explains just how oil-dependent our agriculture is: every calorie of food produced in the western world requires ten calories of fossil fuel energy. The film looks at the challenge of dwindling oil supplies and tries to find out what [...]

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25 Questions for Dacian Ciolos

25 questions MEPs that should put to the man who – subject to their approval – will set the agenda for European food and farming policy over the next five years.

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Fraud and the CAP

The budget monitoring website is serialising a three part survey of the long history of fraud in the Common Agricultural Policy.

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Welcome to

This group blog on European food and farming policy began in 2008 during the ‘health check’ or policy review of the CAP and could be found at the URL The ‘health check’ is now well in the past and it’s time to rename this blog to keep up with the times and to introduce [...]

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The NFU perspective on the future of the CAP

Britain’s National Farmers’ Union is noted for its strategic, long-term view of agricultural issues. Its officials have a sophsiticated, well informed view of developments and it was therefore interesting to read an interview in the latest edition of Farmers Weekly with the NFU’s head of economics and international affairs, Tom Hind. He was at one time acting head of the NFU’s office in Brussels. Not surprisingly, he takes the NFU line that farmers need to continue to receive the single farm payment (SFP) to give them a degree of income stability, especially faced with volatile markets.

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Keeping an eye on the sugar market

Sugar did not experience the massive price spike in 2007-08 of other commodities, but has been making up for this with a tremendous increase in prices in 2009, driven by poor harvests in Brazil (the world’s largest producer) and strong import demand in India (the world’s largest importer). Raw sugar prices have risen from around 10 USc/lb in May 2008 to over 27 USc/lb currently, and market analysts expect further increases in the coming months.

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Lessons from the 2009 EU dairy market crisis

The EU dairy market is now recovering from the severe drop in milk prices in 2009. Perhaps the clearest sign of this recovery is the setting of export refunds on dairy products to zero since mid-November, as world market prices for dairy products have strengthened in recent months. It is thus an opportune time to [...]

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