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

The 2013 CAP reform and biodiversity

A new paper in Science is a formidable summary of the weaknesses of the current CAP reform from a biodiversity perspective.

What is happening to EU agricultural productivity growth?

Two different sources give wildly different estimates of what is happening to agricultural productivity in the EU.

Overcoming the deadlock on cultivation of GM crops in EU countries

The Greek Presidency may get Council agreement on new rules for GM crop cultivation in the EU by the beginning of the summer.

How to interpret cross-compliance

Does cross-compliance set the environmental baseline, or are GAEC standards additional restrictions on land management for which compensation must be paid?

Incentivising soil carbon sequestration

Soil carbon sequestration can help in mitigating climate change but new thinking is needed on how to incentivise the needed changes in land management.

Competition issues in the single CMO regulation

Producer organisations get new powers to restrict sales and to undertake market withdrawals during a market crisis in new single CMO regulation.

Rising numbers of families cannot afford to spend enough on food

New evidence showing the growing number of people in high-income countries including the EU experiencing difficulties acquiring sufficient food.

Comparative food prices across the EU

EU country rankings based on relative food prices show little change since crisis began, DK the most expensive and PL the cheapest places to buy food.

Global area under biotech crops continues to grow while EU policy struggles

While much of the rest of the world embraces the GM technologies with their economic, health and environmental benefits, Europe continues to flounder.

The distribution of CAP direct payments

The distribution of CAP direct payments was still very unequal in 2012.

Does TTIP (and TPP) require TPA?

How important is Trade Promotion Authority to concluding the EU-US free trade area TTIIP negotiations?

Export refunds and Africa

Commissioner Ciolos’ suggestion that export subsidies should be prohibited in trade agreements with African countries is a limited move but should be adopted.

Agriculture in the Commission’s climate policy to 2030

Commission hints at new treatment of agriculture and LULUCF in future climate policy

The timeline for rural development programming

One of the innovations in rural development programming for the next multi-annual period is that there is meant to be much greater integration between EAFRD spending and spending through the other structural and investment funds. Trying to achieve this greater integration has been, and is, a fraught and time-consuming process, with implications for when member [...]

More on Pillar 2 allocations by member state

The Commission’s proposal to use objective criteria to allocate Pillar 2 funds was rejected by the European Council; have member states been more successful?

The Ciolos CAP reform

The Agricultural Council yesterday concluded the legislative process on the 2013 CAP reform. This post discusses the factors shaping the Ciolos reform.

Changing patterns of global agrifood trade

Developing countries are now the dynamic motor behind the growth in global agrifood trade.

EU agriculture: impacts of climate change

New study of the impact of climate change on European agriculture shows how full adaptation can mitigate the negative effects and exploit the possible opportunities.

Does national spending on agriculture follow a different path to the CAP?

The relative stability in CAP spending in the 2014-2020 MFF compared to the 2007-2013 MFF suggests that different political economy factors play out in negotiating the EU budget for agriculture than at the national level.

Family farming and the role of policy in the EU

Much lip-service is paid to safeguarding the future of the family farm in Europe, but what exactly is a family farm and why does it need help?

The G-33 public stock-holding proposal for Bali

The intellectual case for the G-33 public stock-holding proposal for the Bali mini-package is weak and the proposal itself has the potential to lead to damaging trade distortions, not least for other developing countries.

CAP budget share rises as budget deadlock finally resolved

The EU budget will transfer an even larger share of its total resources to EU farmers next year than it does currently as a result of the 2014 budget deal reached this week.

The 2014 CAP transition year

Political agreement reached on CAP transition provisions for 2014.

Comparing support levels across countries

George Lyon MEP claims Scottish Government argument that Scottish farmers are hard done by under the CAP is not credible.

Life after Bali for the WTO Doha Round

New working paper examines the stalled Doha Round negotiations in agriculture and examines the options facing the multilateral trading system.

The distribution of CAP payments by member state

Scottish Government tables on CAP payments by member state show differences are reducing, but remain substantial.

Budget impasse creates uncertainty over December farm payments

Budget battles between the Council and Parliament : what they might mean for farm payments in December

Did we really need the Milk Package?

Does the gradual increase in producers’ and processor’s share of the final milk price in recent years mean the Milk Package was redundant?

“Habemus consilium rusticarum”

The outstanding elements in the CAP political agreement are finally agreed.

Distributing farm payments in Ireland

Submission outlining my views on convergence, flexibility and coupling in the implementation of the Direct Payments regulation in Ireland

OECD Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Report 2013

Latest OECD agricultural policy monitoring report shows 9% increase in measured support to EU farmers in 2012, due to widening gap between producer and world market prices.

The end of export subsidies?

The new single CMO regulation introduces a further tightening of the limits on the use of export subsidies in the future.

EU budget negotiations and farmers’ 2013 single farm payment

Uncertainty will continue over the value of 2013 SFP payment entitlements until the end of this year.

The Doha Round Bali ‘mini-package’ in agriculture

A summary of the agricultural issues being discussed as part of the Bali mini-package in the Doha Development Round.

Prospects for a Doha Round mini-package at Bali this year

Another failure at Bali would surely bring the stuttering Doha Round to an end, even if no WTO member wants to be the first to pronounce it dead. But what should take its place?

Intervention arrangements in the new CAP

The importance of public intervention in the CAP has steadily diminished and the recent CAP reform political agreement does not change this.

CAP reform implementation consultations begin

EU member state governments have started consultation processes on how to use the flexibility given to member states in the CAP reform political agreementin June.

Does the CAP cap agricultural spending in the EU?

If EU agricultural policy were renationalised, would spending on agricultural policy be even greater than currently under the CAP?

WTO EU Trade Policy Review 2013

Latest WTO review of EU trade policy shows marginal fall in average MFN applied tariffs but there are still many tariff peaks.

The CAP budget in the MFF Part 3 – Pillar 2 rural development allocations

France runs away in the new allocation of Pillar 2 rural development funds.

The CAP budget in the MFF Part 2 – direct payment envelopes in Pillar 1

How member states direct payment envelopes are affected by the European Council conclusions on the next MFF.

The CAP budget in the MFF agreement

The next MFF contains no discretionary reduction in CAP Pillar 1 expenditure, over and above what a continuation of current rules would imply, while the discretionary reduction in Pillar 2 is 18% between 2013 and 2020.

A triumph for the Irish Presidency – a damp squib for CAP reform

A flurry of activity in the past two days under the Irish Presidency opens the path to approval of the new CAP regulations in September.

The June Agricultural Council issues paper

Presidency issues paper defines the outstanding issues and possible compromises for a political agreement in the CAP reform trilogue process.

The June Agricultural Council

At this stage, none of the parties are contemplating the options if there is no agreement following the June Agricultural Council next week.

The MFF compromise texts

While it will be difficult for the Parliament to accept, now is not the time for it to use the blunderbuss of its veto power by rejecting the MFF for an unprecedented time.

Provisional MFF agreement still to be approved

The compromise MFF agreement is a major achievement for the Irish Presidency but approval by the Council and the Parliament will be a rocky process.

Tuesday 18 June – high noon (or long midnight) for an MFF agreement?

With the MFF negotiations between Council and Parliament headings towards a high-noon showdown next Tuesday 18 June, this post recalls the steps in the trilogue process to this point.

What will change in EU rural development policies after 2013?

Presentation by Francesco Mantino discusses what we can expect in next rural development programmes following CAP reform.

Where stand the CAP reform negotiations?

Two presentations at a conference of Italian agricultural economists in Parma last week summarise the state of CAP reform negotiations