Alan Matthews

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Alan Matthews is Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy in the Department of Economics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. His major research interests are agricultural policy analysis, the impact of international trade on developing countries, and computable general equilibrium analysis of trade and agricultural policy reforms. He has worked as a consultant to the European Parliament, the OECD, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and the UN Industrial Development Organisation, and has been a panel member in a number of WTO Dispute Settlement procedures. He is a former President of the European Association of Agricultural Economists but writes here in a personal capacity.

Recent blog posts written by Alan Matthews

Supply management in milk policy

Over on the ARC2020 website, they are having a debate on the #MilkCrisis to which I was asked to contribute. Below is my contribution to that debate. “The weighted average milk price for the EU-28 in May was 26.6 c/litre, a price last seen during the last trough in the price cycle in 2009 when [...]

The UK opts for Brexit, what next?

The British people in their referendum yesterday expressed their wish to leave the European Union. It is a decision I deeply regret. I believe it will have negative consequences for the UK in terms of economic growth and possibly constitutional stability. For the EU, it is not possible now to foresee the longer-term consequences. At [...]

When is enough taxpayer aid enough?

The high dependence of Irish family farm income on public support must give pause for thought.

Much ado about nothing in TTIP leaks on food safety standards

The Greenpeace leak of the consolidated text of the TTIP SPS chapter shows how unwarranted the fuss about TTIP and food safety has been.

Milk policy in the EU – a case of policy incoherence

Member states want to restrict milk supply on the one hand while subsidising milk production on the other.

The dependence of EU farm income on public support

EU farms remain hugely dependent on public transfers and direct payments

Update on market crisis measures

How voluntary supply management and more flexible state aids can be used to address the market crisis.

Use of risk management tools in the CAP

Risk management remains the orphan of the CAP, according to new European Parliament study

Preparing for the MFF Mid-Term Review

European Parliament begins preparations for MFF Mid-Term Review/Revision

Further note on EU farm income trends

US farm income drop since 2013 much more severe than in EU

Recent trends in EU farm incomes

Average EU farm incomes have been remarkably resilient to recent market shocks despite severe falls in some member states and sectors

Council supports voluntary milk reduction scheme

EU Agriculture Council supports proposal for voluntary milk supply reduction scheme, but its effectiveness can be questioned.

Temporary supply management for milk offers no solution

Temporary supply management schemes offer no solution to the EU milk crisis

Agriculture in the debate over Brexit

Dispelling some myths on agriculture in the debate around Brexit

The 2016 mid-term review of the Multi-annual Financial Framework

The prescribed review/revision of the EU’s multi-annual financial framework will take place in 2016 – will it have implications for agricultural spending?

What endgame for GIs in the TTIP negotiations?

Different views on how to protect geographical indications (GIs) complicate finding a negotiating outcome in the TTIP negotiations.

WTO dimensions of a UK ‘Brexit’ and agricultural trade

How would the UK’s WTO commitments be established in the event of a Brexit and how constraining would they be?

Is the removal of quotas responsible for the increase in EU milk production in 2015?

What is the relative importance of quota elimination and high milk prices in 2014 to the growth of EU milk production in 2015?

Greenhouse gas emission targets and Irish agriculture

Land use change must be part of the optimal mix to address Ireland’s challenging task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU has finally agreed to eliminate export subsidies…three cheers!

The EU makes a proposal in the WTO to eliminate all export subsidies within three years.

Gainers and losers from the CAP budget

The size of net transfers through the CAP is growing – might this affect the negotiating positions of member states?

Will there be a CAP reform in 2017?

Will there be a CAP mid-term review in 2017? And, if so, what should it do?

The CAP and biodiversity

Protecting biodiversity through the CAP requires more spatially targeted schemes in Pillar 2.

The intervention logic of the CAP

The intervention logic for CAP policies forms the basis for monitoring and evaluation.

EU’s declining importance in agrifood trade

The EU’s importance as global agrifood exporter and importer is declining over time.

What biodiversity benefits can we expect from EFAs?

Why limited biodiversity benefits are expected from EFA implementation under CAP reform

Does farm size matter?

On October 20th next I will take part in a workshop organised by DG AGRI at the Milan EXPO on the subject “Structural realities in EU agriculture: Does farm size matter?” The aim of the workshop is to discuss the challenges and opportunities brought about by the structural change of the EU agricultural sector for [...]

Informal Agricultural Council to discuss climate-smart agriculture

The Luxembourg informal Agriculture Council will discuss climate-smart agriculture.

€500 million farm aid package announced

The Commission’s €500 million assistance package for farmers follows closely the template followed in the 2009 milk crisis.

Is the producer price of milk too low?

How serious is the current dairy market situation? Are prices really below costs of production? In this post, I examine recent dairy market trends to throw light on these questions. The Agriculture Council meeting tomorrow (see this post for a preview) is expected to agree a package of aid for dairy farmers, but why should [...]

Hold your nerve, Commissioner!

Dairy assistance package expected at Agriculture Council meeting Monday 7 September 2015

Status update on Rural Development Programmes

Slow progress continues to be made in approval of EU rural development programmes

Scrap the crop diversification greening requirement and find a sensible replacement

The CAP crop diversification greening requirement is a scandalous waste of resources.

Should we limit methane emissions as part of air quality policy?

Methane ceilings should be retained in the revised National Emissions Ceiling Directive, but the actual levels should be reviewed and flexibilities introduced.

Prospects for CAP reform after 2020

What issues should be addressed by a future CAP?

Food Wise 2025 agri-food strategy launched in Ireland

Environmental assessment of new Irish agri-food expansion strategy side-steps the vital questions.

Including LULUCF in the EU’s 2030 climate policy target

EU consultation on how to include agriculture, forestry and other land uses in its climate policy framework after 2020 closes today.

Levelling the playing field for land-based enterprises in Ireland

Forestry needs a level playing field with livestock.

Removal of vineyard planting rights will require another French Revolution

Historical parallels show the immense difficulties in eliminating vine planting rights.

Food prices, poverty and the CAP

Agricultural price policy is a very poor instrument to use to steer consumers’ food consumption and diet choices.

UK Brexit and agriculture

New paper argues that UK withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) would have significant adverse effects for the Irish agri-food sector.

Two steps forward, one step back: coupled payments in the CAP

One of the success stories in the evolution of CAP reform has been the change from supporting the product to supporting the producer by moving, first, from market price support to coupled payments, and then by decoupling these payments. The 2013 CAP reform has reversed this process. Coupled aids have started to grow again, from [...]

TTIP and the potential for US beef imports

Discusses background to US beef exports to the EU and asks if beef should be treated as a sensitive product in TTIP negotiations with the US

Forum for the Future of Agriculture 2015 – Remarks on EU agricultural trade policy

The EU is a largely self-sufficient economy when it comes to food and agriculture, so trade liberalisation will have limited impacts.

Farmers’ share of food chain value added

The declining farm share of value added in the food supply chain tells us nothing about the fairness of supply chain relationships.

The Energy Union package and agriculture

The Energy Union package sets out that key pieces of legislation determining how climate targets will impact on agriculture will be published in 2016.

The UK milk ‘crisis’ – fact or fiction?

The UK dairy sector is not in a state of crisis, but ongoing structural changes are controversial.

Why the poor EU response to higher grain prices?

It would seem important to gain a better understanding of why the EU’s supply response to higher world food prices has not matched that in Africa, let alone the rest of the world, since 2006.

Commitments to rural development spending 76% below forecast in 2014

The publication by the Commission of its second Draft Amending Budget (DAB No.2) to the EU’s 2015 budget this week reveals in stark figures the extent of the hiatus in CAP rural development spending caused by the delays in passing the relevant legislation and in approving rural development programmes. I first highlighted how approval of [...]

Agricultural implications of British EU withdrawal for rest of the EU

A UK withdrawal from the EU would raise trade costs for EU farm and food exporters and importers to and from the UK, depending on the trade arrangements in place after withdrawal.