Farmers may have to pay for Russian crisis aid

One of the successes of outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos in the 2013 CAP reform was to maintain the size of the CAP budget in the 2014-2020 multi-annual financial framework (MFF), at least in nominal terms (and even in real terms in the Commission’s original proposal). This was no mean achievement given the extent of the financial crisis in Europe, the pressures on public spending and the competing demands for spending at EU level.
His success was due to persuading his fellow Commissioners that a larger share of the CAP budget would be devoted to paying for public goods, particularly environment and climate actions.… Read the rest

Agriculture in the 2030 Climate and Energy Package

The European Council comprising the EU Heads of State and Government will meet at the end of this week 23-24 October to take a final decision, among other issues, on the EU’s new climate and energy policy framework. The plan is to agree on the target level of GHG emission reductions for 2030 so that the EU can submit its contribution for the conclusion of a global climate agreement in Paris at the end of next year at the latest by the first quarter of 2015, in line with the timeline agreed by the UNFCCC. However, according to the EUObserver, there are still significant differences of view on the targets between member states, and deadlock at the meeting is not ruled out.… Read the rest

What is the growth potential of EU agriculture?

Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan committed himself to a growth, jobs and investment agenda for agriculture in his confirmation hearing with the EP’s COMAGRI. Given the stuttering EU recovery and continued high unemployment in EU countries, this is an understandable objective. But can EU agriculture rise to the challenge? Not on its past record, at least without substantially changing the policy paradigm.
It is rarely recognised just how disappointing the growth performance of EU agriculture has been over the past two decades. As shown in the figure below, the average growth rate over the period 1990-2011 for the EU-28 has been a mere 0.2% per annum.… Read the rest

Phil Hogan confirmed as Commissioner

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan was strongly confirmed following his hearing before the European Parliament COMAGRI yesterday by 32 votes to 10 on the question whether he is qualified to be a Commissioners, and by 31 votes to 11 on whether he is qualified to take responsibility for his portfolio.
There were no surprises in either Phil Hogan’s opening statement or in his answers to questions (the DG AGRI website has a copy of his opening statement and a video link to the hearing). I see no reason to revise my previous assessment of the priorities for agricultural policy under Hogan’s mandate.… Read the rest