Eurobarometer on CAP reform

A new Eurobarometer public opinion poll shows widespread support among European citizens for the Commission’s main CAP reform proposals. The poll, conducted by TNS Opinion and Social, interviewed 26,713 adults, enough for a representative sample in each member state.

The first question, concerning setting a cap on the amount of aid to the largest farms found that 47% of respondents favour a limit while 28% opposed a limit. 15 per cent didn’t know. Support for capping was strongest in Cyprus (+54%), Denmark (+36%), Finland (+33%) and Sweden (29%). Malta was the only country where more people thought a limit was a bad thing (-20%).

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Production effects of moving to flatter structure of direct payments

What might be the production, consumption and trade effects of the Commission’s proposals to redistribute direct payments by moving to a flat(ter) structure of direct payments across the Member States, and to redistribute payments within Member States by moving from the historic basis of farm payments (in the majority of Member States which operate this system) to a regional flat rate system?

A silly question, some might respond, for are not the EU’s direct payments decoupled (leaving aside the continued existence of a share of coupled payments) and thus not meant to have an effect on farm production? If a direct payment is truly decoupled, then moving payments from one farm to another, or from one country to another, will affect relative incomes but not output.

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Updating the base period for SPS entitlements

One of the more significant changes proposed by the Commission in its draft legislative proposal on direct payments is to eliminate those existing entitlements to support which farmers have built up in the past. The basic payment scheme will replace the Single Payment Scheme and the Single Area Payment Scheme as from 2014. The new scheme will operate on the basis of payment entitlements allocated at national or regional level to all farmers according to their eligible hectares in the first year of application.

The proposal to allocate new entitlements on the basis of land farmed in 2014 has provoked a massive protest in Ireland (see, for example, this Irish Examiner story).

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Problems viewing graphs in posts using Internet Explorer

Apologies that there appears to be a problem in viewing in-post images in previous posts using Internet Explorer, which means that often the browser does not display the associated graphs. At the moment I don’t understand the reason for this, but if you want to see the graphics, then please use an alternative browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera.

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What is the likely cost of greening Pillar 1?

The Commission’s proposals for the design of direct payments after 2013 include a greening component which, according to the draft legislative proposal (yet to be released on 12 October next and thus subject to change) will be mandatory for farmers in receipt of the basic income payment – thus becoming what I called in an earlier post a form of super-cross-conditionality.

In the impact assessment to be released with the legislative proposal the Commission has made some estimates of the cost of implementing these green measures. In this post, I examine these costs using information in the draft version of the impact assessment (Annex 12 Impact of Scenarios on the Distribution of Direct Payments and Farm Income).

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The future for national envelopes and Member State flexibility in Pillar 1

A feature of the move towards decoupled direct payments in the EU since the Fischler 2003 reform has been greater flexibility for Members States in the management of these payments. This can be seen in various ways: the different options on which to base the Single Payment Scheme; different cross compliance requirements including definition of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions; different possibilities for modulating payments between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2; and provisions for ‘national envelopes’ and for the retention of partial coupling.

In this post I examine the future for national envelopes and partial coupling in the light of the Commission’s draft regulation on direct payments after 2013.

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Court of Auditors launches broadside against deficiencies in agri-environment schemes

Are we as taxpayers getting good value for money from agri-environment payments under the EU’s rural development (RD) policy? This is an important question, given that agri-environment payments will amount to around €22 billion during the 2007-2013 RD programming period, alone accounting for around 23% of all Pillar 2 spending. It becomes more important given that the Commission is flagging that it wants to direct even more funding towards the provision of environmental public goods in the next programming period.

Breakdown EU Rural Development spending 2007-2013Breakdown EU Rural Development spending 2007-2013

A European Court of Auditors report published last Monday (September 19) provides a rather critical response to this question.

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The mystery of the EU's disappearing AMS

Alan Swinbank of Reading University in the UK has been doing some detective work to understand the dramatic fall in the scale of the EU’s trade-distorting support (reported in the Amber Box under WTO rules) in the EU’s latest notification to the WTO which covers the marketing year 2007/08. His findings are reported in the latest issue of the online Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy.
As previously reported on this blog, the EU figure for Amber Box support (called the Current Total Aggregate Measure of Support in WTO jargon) fell from €26.6 billion in 2006/07 to €12.4 billion in 2007/08.

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The mystery of the EU’s disappearing AMS

Alan Swinbank of Reading University in the UK has been doing some detective work to understand the dramatic fall in the scale of the EU’s trade-distorting support (reported in the Amber Box under WTO rules) in the EU’s latest notification to the WTO which covers the marketing year 2007/08. His findings are reported in the latest issue of the online Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy.

As previously reported on this blog, the EU figure for Amber Box support (called the Current Total Aggregate Measure of Support in WTO jargon) fell from €26.6 billion in 2006/07 to €12.4 billion in 2007/08.

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How will Rural Development funds be allocated among the member states?

The early September draft of the Commission legislative proposal for the new Rural Development regulation to be released on October 12th next was inconclusive on how Pillar 2 spending would be allocated across the Member States. The annual amounts available to each member state will not be determined in the Regulation, but will be left to a subsequent Commission implementing act, taking into account (a) objective criteria linked to the three objectives of the Regulation (agricultural competitiveness, sustainable land management and balanced territorial development) and (b) past performance.

The draft impact assessment on the new regulation which also has yet to be formally released provides some further guidance on the Commission’s thinking, and shows how the distribution across member states would be affected by the use of different objective criteria.

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