Alan Matthews

Economist
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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 currently President of the European Association of Agricultural Economists but writes here in a personal capacity.

Recent blog posts written by Alan Matthews

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

Wasting money on young farmers?

The problem with Europe’s ageing farmers is too few exits rather than too few entrants, and the proposed top-up payment for young farmers in Pillar 1 does nothing to address this problem.

EU to ban reusable olive oil bottles in restaurants

Proposal to ban open olive oil bottles in restaurants is an excessive reaction to problems of olive oil adulteration

A race against time

Time is running out to conclude this CAP reform under the Irish Presidency, but a June agreement remains a possibility.

A short bibliography on CAP greening

Links to a short bibliography on CAP greening

MFF negotiations blown off course as European Parliament plays poker

The Parliament’s refusal to begin the planned MFF trilogues with the Council makes it difficult to envisage a political agreement under the Irish Presidency.

What farmers should do to qualify for the new CAP green payment

The Council and Parliament will struggle to reconcile their differences over how much flexibility to allow to member states and farmers in deciding eligibliity for the green payment in Pillar 1.

CAP reform uncertainty and the market for entitlements

Uncertainty over new direct payment regulations is affect the market for single payment entitlements.

Impact of CAP subsidies on productivity

New study finds evidence that moving to decoupled farm subsidies under the CAP has had a small but measurable impact on farm productivity.

How MEPs voted on CAP reform

Find out how your MEPs voted on the CAP reform regulations

Evolution of the direct payments regulation

Compare the evolution of amendments to the CAP direct payments regulation over the course of the legislative process.

Implications of the new redistributive payment

For those member states that introduce it, the redistributive payment can introduce a much more significant degree of progressivity into CAP payments than what we have seen heretofore.

Promoting innovation through the EIP Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability

How will member states mainstream the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability into their forthcoming rural development programmes?

Implications of the European Council MFF agreement for the agricultural environment

This is a shortened version of a post which was first written for the Institute for International and European Affairs EnvironmentNexus blog From the perspective of the agricultural environment, there are three elements in the European Council conclusions on the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework on 7-8 February which should be noted. The first element is [...]

Will the MFF be agreed this week?

Even if the European Council agree on a new 7-year EU budget this week, approval by the Parliament is not a foregone conclusion.

The MFF numbers – where we stand

Use this MFF ready reckoner to evaluate the proposal put by van Rompuy to European Council leaders later this week.

The development interest in the CAP reform debate

COMAGRI voted against including a mechanism to monitor the impact of the CAP on developing countries, this should be included in the Parliament’s negotiating mandate when the plenary votes in March.

Following the negotiations on the Direct Payments Regulation

As regards the direct payments regulation, both legislative institutions are converging on a similar set of proposals and no issue sticks out which might cause real difficulties when the trilogue negotiations begin.

The significance of Rule 70 for CAP reform negotiations

To understand the possible timing of the CAP reform negotiations it is crucial to understand the new decision-making process under the Lisbon Treaty involving both the Parliament and the Council. In a recent post, I set out my understanding of the process, based on the assumption shared by most commentators (for example, see this Brussels [...]

Forum on CAP reform

Series of papers on the CAP reform process provide excellent overview of key issues

Welcome to the Irish Presidency

The Irish Presidency faces an uphill battle to reach agreement on CAP reform during its six-months tenure.

Cyprus Presidency progress report on CAP reform – direct payment controversies

Discussion on Cyprus Presidency CAP reform progress report at Agricultural Council this week will highlight divisions on internal convergence and greening in the direct payments regulation.

Correction: Rural development funds allocation

There has been much interest in the provenance of the figures on the allocation of rural development funding between member states which I discussed in this post earlier this week. In the post I said that these were figures circulated by Herman van Rompuy during the special European Council meeting to discuss the MFF on [...]

Understanding the ‘active farmer’ debate

Proposed definition of active farmers restores link between production and payments.

Rural development funds allocation hits new member states

What new member states gain through convergence of Pillar 1 payments they could lose in Pillar 2 allocations under the latest Van Rompuy proposals.

Council debate on greening raises more questions than answers

Watching the videostream of the Agricultural Council’s greening debate held earlier this week was a rather depressing experience. There is something profoundly wrong with a decision-making system where food and agricultural policy is determined solely by agricultural ministers who speak on behalf of their farmers only, with only the Commission present to even vaguely represent [...]

No decision on MFF budget at first attempt

European Council leaders fail to agree Van Rompuy’s second MFF proposal which reinstated a large share of the CAP Pillar 1 reductions previously suggested.

MFF baton passes to Van Rompuy: further cuts proposed compared to Commission proposal

Further cuts in agricultural budget proposed in Van Rompuy’s MFF proposal for the European Council.

The nitty-gritty of CAP reform: the case of new entrants

David Barnes is the Scottish Government’s Deputy Director for Agriculture and Rural Development. He sits with his Minister around the Council of Agricultural Ministers’ table as the negotiations on the shape of the CAP2020 take place and, more interestingly, he blogs about it. His blog gives an insider’s view and a personal perspective on what [...]

European Parliament postpones vote on CAP reforms

New European Parliament timetable for CAP reform decisions puts 2014 implementation in doubt.

Cyprus Presidency issues second revised MFF negotiating box

Agricultural spending escapes lightly in new revision of the MFF negotiating box which shows where budget reductions in the 2014-2020 would fall.

October Agricultural Council continues CAP debate

Agricultural Ministers continued to grind through their discussions on CAP2020 issues under the Cypriot Presidency at the Agricultural Council meeting on 22 and 23 October earlier this week.

How close is the EU to agreement on spending one trillion euro?

Absence of figures in the MFF negotiating box as the endgame approaches suggests governments not yet ready for the necessary compromises.

OECD reports EU farm transfers at lowest level ever

OECD figures show a continued slight fall in EU transfers to farmers as measured by the Producer Support Estimate indicator.

Further thoughts on CAP greening

New paper provides useful summary of the CAP greening debate to date.

Cyprus Presidency proposes CAP budget cut in next MFF

Cyprus Presidency recognises for first time that Commission’s proposed CAP budget is unrealistic.

COMAGRI CAP2020 amendments published

Links to the COMAGRI amendments to the Commission’s draft regulations on CAP post 2013.

New opportunities to visualise agricultural data

Data visualisation software from Google helps to see trends in agricultural data.

Perspectives on the CAP2020 debate

Three recent presentations summarise the state of the CAP reform debate at this point.

COMAGRI Chair calls for maintenance of CAP budget in real terms

Draft COMAGRI report calls to maintain CAP spending in real terms in the 2014-2020 MFF period..

How much progress has been made on agreeing the 2014-2020 MFF?

Only limited progress has been made in narrowing the divergences of view on the EU’s medium-term financial framework. Time is running out and the stakes are high.

What role for agriculture in rural development?

The CAP is partially justified because of its contribution to ‘viable rural communities’ but the relationship between agriculture and non-agricultural development is as likely to be competitive as complementary.

Is selling ‘experiences’ a potential growth path for European agriculture?

Does the ‘experience economy’ in which consumers pay premium prices for products and services that provide additional intangible ‘experiences’ constitute a viable growth path for European agriculture?

Eurobarometer food security survey

What are we to make of the findings in the latest Eurobarometer survey of EU public opinion on Europeans’ attitudes to their own food security?

The EU as a destabilising force in world grain markets

The EU’s attempts to protect livestock farmers during the 2007-08 price spike helped to destablise world grain prices for poor country consumers.

Co-financing rates in Pillar 2

The design of co-financing rates will influence total public spending on Pillar 2 measures in the next programming period.