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Public supports ‘consumer agenda’ in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring [...]

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Commission proposals: so what happens next?

As DG Agriculture’s spokesman Michael Mann has been keen to stress over the past few days since the publication of the Commission’s communication on the CAP health check, this is just the start of the process of deliberation and debate. Dr Tamsin Cooper of the Institute for European Environmental Policy has written a useful briefing [...]

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So how green is the Health check “green paper”?

The Commission’s “CAP Health Check” communication acknowledges the fact that European Farming and countryside face unprecedented environmental challenges: continuous biodiversity decline, increasing climate change and a looming water crisis. The Communication fails however to come up with credible proposals for dealing with these challenges. It was hoped that the Commission would use the Health Check [...]

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Specious arguments against limiting payments to largest farms

Initial media reaction to the Commission’s Health Check proposals has been predictable, with most papers picking up as the lead story the Commission’s proposal to apply a tapering reduction to direct payments to larger farms. The Financial Times story was headlined “Communists and royalty fight farm subsidy cuts.” Much was made of the fact that [...]

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Commission proposals lack ambition

Later today the European Commission will present its proposals for changes to the Common Agricultural Policy – for so long an emblem of bureaucracy, waste and injustice. This will be the first reform since details began to emerge from top secret government files about exactly who gets what from the €55 billion Europe spends each [...]

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European Agriculture: un tour d’horizon

The debate over the future of the CAP will begin in earnest next week with the Commission’s proposals for the ‘health check’. Just in time comes an excellent new website that offers a view of the agricultural situation in each of the 27 EU member states. This is a much needed resource that combines official [...]

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Why agricultural policy reform is so difficult

Over on the excellent VoxEU site, Thomas Hertel, Roman Keeney and Alan Winters try to answer the question why agricultural policy is so difficult to reform, as illustrated by the way in which difficulties in getting agreement on reduced agricultural support and protection has been one of the factors preventing progress in the Doha Round. [...]

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Options for milk quota reform

How to manage the transition to the phasing out of milk quotas is one of the items on the CAP Health Check agenda. A recent study from the FAPRI-Ireland team based in the Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc in Ireland has examined the impacts of two alternative transition paths to phasing out milk quotas by [...]

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The health check paper: Homeopathy rather than surgery?

The recently leaked Commission Green paper sets the scene for the upcoming health check. What emerges at the moment is a very cautious and minimalist approach, in line with what the Commissioner has been promising for a while. Two things seem striking. The first is the choice to ignore the budget review debate. The second [...]

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IEEP briefing on the CAP Health Check

An excellent briefing document on the likely direction of the CAP Health Check – and the political forces at play – has been published by the Institute for European Environment Policy (IEEP). To my mind it is the best overview available at this time and I’m delighted that IEEP experts Tamsin Cooper and Martin Farmer [...]

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More on who benefits from farm subsidies

Jack Thurston reviews some recent academic studies, including a recent paper by Stefan Kilian and Klaus Salhofer from the Technische Universität Munich, which make the point that much of the benefit of agricultural support policies does not end up in the hands of farmers who are its intended beneficiaries, but rather benefits landowners. However, my [...]

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Who benefits from farm subsidies: farmers or landowners?

One of the most contentious issues surrounding farm subsidies is how much of what is paid out actually finds its way into the pocket of the farmer, and how much leaks out into rents paid to landlords, prices charged by the companies selling seed, feed, machines, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other inputs.

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More on capping direct payments

Much initial reaction to the Commission’s leaked Health Check proposals has focused on its renewed attempt to introduce a cap on the Single Farm Payment amount which an individual farmer can receive. In fact, the proposal does not amount to a cap in the sense of an absolute ceiling, but takes of the form of [...]

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Leaked proposals on subsidy payment limits: first analysis

Analysis of the Commission’s leaked proposals for the CAP Health Check show that the payment limitations proposal is significantly less ambitious than the proposal made during the Agenda 2000 (1999) and Mid-Term Review (2003) reforms of the CAP.

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Why farmers in the New Member States love the CAP

Jerzy Wilkin of Warsaw University in a recent paper has summarised the agricultural experience in the New Member States (NMS) under the CAP since they joined the EU in 2004. One of the points he highlights is the change in attitudes among farmers to the EU particularly in Poland, the largest of the New Member [...]

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Plus ça change?

Sarko has done it again. In a brilliant media stunt, he has managed to grab the headlines and project a dynamic image of a changing France, in “rupture” with the Chirac era. I don’t want to ruin the party, and I certainly hope France is moving forward, but his speech is worth a closer look. [...]

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Biofuels: a giant con-trick says the OECD

The EU’s headlong rush to convert enormous swathes of farmland into plantations of oilseed rape, corn and other crops grown for use as alternatives to fossil fuels is a giant con-trick, according to a report by the OECD that has been leaked to the Financial Times.

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Danish parliament unanimously calls for elimination of CAP support

Some Danish colleagues told me recently that the Danish Parliament on 30 May last unanimously passed a resolution requiring the Danish government to propose a strategy for how it would actively work for the elimination of EU agricultural support. The strategy should include a timeframe and plan of activities which should take into account the [...]

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Get paid for blogging the CAP!

In the six months since it was launched, the CAP Health Check blog has established itself as the best place on the web for news, views and debate on the future of European food, farming and rural policy. We are now looking to expand our team with new voices and have secured funding from the [...]

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Australian report raises queries on CAP reform

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) has long been a consistent critic of the CAP. In its latest report The European Union’s Agricultural Policy: A Stocktake of Reforms it acknowledges the EU’s reform efforts to date, but highlights areas where more needs to be done. Its main conclusion is that, while the [...]

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Biofuels come to rescue of EU sugar market in medium-term

DG Agri published its annual Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU for the period 2007 through 2014 at the end of July. In this post I discuss the Commission’s latest view on the outlook for the EU sugar market. The EU’s sugar market reform agreed in November 2005 has been less than [...]

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Growth rates for global food demand set to fall

In a previous post, I discussed the significance of the current buoyant markets for dairy products for the likely success in pursuing further reform of the EU dairy regime. The insight that world market conditions may influence the trajectory of CAP reform can also be extended to other CAP regimes. Producers have not been as [...]

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Importance of direct payments in Irish farm income by farming system

Irish farmers now totally dependent on direct payments for their income

The dependence of Irish farm incomes on the Single Farm Payment and other direct payments was starkly revealed by the publication of the 2006 results of the annual National Farm Survey (NFS) this week. Fully 98% of Family Farm Income (FFI) on Irish farms in 2006 was derived from the Single Farm Payment and other [...]

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Set aside: act now, think later…

Following a Swedish proposal and widespread support in the Agriculture Council, the Commission announced the intention to set the level of compulsory set aside at 0% for the 2008 harvest. This is bad news for Europe’s wildlife and suggests a disappointing level of commitment to environmental sustainability on the side of the EU and its [...]

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secondo

Sad news

It is with great sadness that I report to readers of CAP Health Check the sudden and unexpected death of Secondo Tarditi, one of the agricultural policy experts contributing their thoughts to this blog. A fuller appreciation of Secondo’s life and his contribution to European agricultural economics will follow. In the mean time we express [...]

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CAP policy instruments and policy goals: cause or effect?

Fellow blogger Wyn Grant presented a paper in Paris last month which presents a wide-ranging overview of the changes in CAP policy instruments since its inception to the present day. His basic thesis is that over time the instruments have changed much more than the objectives and that this does reflect a shift in the [...]

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UK Parliament slams the CAP

A report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee of the UK Parliament has called for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy to be replaced by a new “Rural Policy for the EU”. While the committee of MPs, whose job is to shadow the work of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [...]

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Sea of Ignorance

A new Eurobarometer survey has found that 72 per cent of respondents considered themselves to be uninformed on agricultural issues and over half (54 per cent) had never heard or read about the CAP. The 43 per cent who claim to have at least some degree of awareness comprises of 34 per cent who say [...]

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69 Ways to Reform the CAP

Analyses of the contents of the Commission’s Health Check Communication have heightened in recent days with the content of the leaked draft document reported in the agriculture press. Of particular interest from an environmental perspective, is the resurgence of the little applied Article 69. This article is housed within the current CAP legislation, Regulation 1782/2003, [...]

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Cross compliance: tough new standards or money for nothing?

During last week’s furore over trading in CAP subsidy entitlements, the question of what farmers must do in return for their subsidy was raised. In a speech on 6 March 2007 in India, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said that the CAP’s new Single Farm Payment (SFP) is conditional on farmers observing “tough standards of [...]

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Investors buying up farm subsidies

The past week has seen a series of revelations in the media about the way that decoupled farm subsidies are operating in Scotland. It has become evident that farm subsidy entitlements are being sold by farmers and that investors – who may never have set foot on a farm – are buying up entitlements to [...]

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Phase out subsidies by 2020 says Miliband

Britain’s Defra secretary told the Oxford Farming Conference is committed to a system by 2020 where ‘public funds are only used for public goods, in particular environmental benefits.’ This would mean the effective end of Pillar 1 and of restraints o…

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Green box does distort trade, claims Indian study

A report commissioned by the Indian Department of Commerce and carried out by UNCTAD’s Indian team challenges the EU’s argument that decoupled aid payments have only a minimal trade distorting effect. According to the researchers’ model, EU farm exports would fall by a massive 45 per cent if Green Box subsidies were removed and production [...]

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