Family farming and the role of policy in the EU

Last week Dacian Ciolos welcomed the launch of the UN’s International Year of Family Farming 2014 and on Friday this week the Commission is holding a conference in Brussels on “Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and in the world”.

The Commissioner emphasised that over 95% of farm holdings in the EU are family farms, and that “family farms are the foundations on which Europe’s Common agricultural policy was built. They continue to stay at the heart of European agriculture as robust generators of competitiveness, growth and jobs, of dynamic and sustainable rural economies.”

Others take a different view of structural developments in EU farming.… Read the rest

The G-33 public stock-holding proposal for Bali

The new WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo gave a rather downbeat assessment last week to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee on the state of play of the texts which are meant to be agreed at the Bali Ministerial Council in early December. In an earlier post I discussed the issues put on the table by developing countries to make up the agricultural element of this Bali ‘mini-package’. These include new rules to deal with underfill of tariff rate quotas, a halving by developed countries of their ceilings on allowed export subsidies, and an exemption for developing countries from regular WTO disciplines on purchases of food products from low-income farmers at government-set prices when used for public stock-holding.… Read the rest

CAP budget share rises as budget deadlock finally resolved

My previous post on EU budget decision-making in mid-October described the complex inter-relationships between agreement on the EU’s long term budget the Multi-annual Financial Framework, the conciliation procedure with respect to the 2014 budget and the divisions between the Council and Parliament on the Commission’s draft amending budgets to the 2013 budget seeking additional funds to avoid pushing more expenditure further into the coming year.
At the end of the post, I described an optimistic scenario in which the Lithuanian Presidency got the Council’s agreement to pay the amending budgets for 2013 and the conciliation process between Council and Parliament on the 2014 budget was successful, thus paving the way for formal approval of the political agreement already reached on the MFF.… Read the rest