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EU agricultural policy: great potential for budget savings

This guest post is written by Professor Ulrich Koester, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Market Analysis and Policy at the University of Kiel. It originally appeared in German as an opinion piece in the periodical Wirtschaftsdienst 8/2011.

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Professor Alan Matthews

Seeds of a conflict

An EU ban on Egyptian fenugreek seeds disrupts the Union’s efforts to help stabilise the country.

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Life after the Doha Round

Last week’s WTO meetings suggest there will be no Doha Round agreement in the immediate future. The December Ministerial Conference has the responsibility to chart a roadmap for life after Doha.

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EU-Moroccan agricultural trade deal running into trouble in European Parliament

Agriculture Committee adds voice calling for rejection of further agricultural trade liberalisation with Morocco.

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What future for the CAP financial discipline mechanism?

Whether direct payments could still be reduced under the financial discipline mechanism in the 2014-20 period and, if yes, how it would work has still not been clarified by the Commission.

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The genius of French farmers

Making a point to a global television audience

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Did the Commission have second thoughts on raiding Pillar 2 to support Pillar 1 payments?

Mystery of the missing sentence in published Q&A on Multiannual Financial Framework

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Food assistance for most deprived persons

Instead of shifting this item from the CAP to the Social Fund, should it be part of the EU budget at all?

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Commission multiannual budget plan protects the CAP budget

Commission proposals are a stunning victory for Commissioner Ciolos and farmers in seeking to hold on to the CAP budget

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Further risk management toolkit for EU agriculture not warranted

New report by Stefan Tangermann rejects arguments for additional publicly-funded risk management tools as part of the new CAP

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What has been happening to the numbers undernourished during the food crisis?

New estimates suggest a substantial fall in the numbers undernourished in recent years despite the food crisis.

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European Parliament displays little courage in its report on the future EU budget

The European Parliament’s opening shot in the EU’s multi-annual budget negotiations inspires little confidence that it is a credible budget partner.

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Paying for the EHEC food safety crisis

Calls to compensate vegetable growers for losses due to the EHEC food scare raise the question who should finance the costs of food crises

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Haskins sets out vision for CAP reform

British peer and farmer calls for radical reform (again).

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Tangermann pulls Commission reform plans to pieces

Stefan Tangermann, Professor Emeritus at the University of Gottingen and former Director of the Trade and Agriculture Division of the OECD, has produced a devastating critique of the Commission’s CAP post-2013 communication for the European Parliament.

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French environmentalists try the rough way

A hard-hitting advertising campaign by French environmentalists has inflamed the national debate on agriculture, but will it result in a greener CAP?

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Sustainable intenstification

‘More from less’ is the new mantra in science circles. Will someone tell the European Parliament?

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How the CAP budget is perceived by the Member States

A new paper by Franco Sotte shows how examining the ex post importance of CAP payments in the EU budget rather than their ex ante shares gives a different understanding of how Member States benefit from the CAP budget.

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The challenge of reducing agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions

Changing consumption patterns, not production systems, offers the best way to reduce the contribution of farming to climate change

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Developing country impacts of the next CAP reform

I would like to use this post to draw attention to a recent paper which I wrote for the International Centre for Sustainable Trade and Development which examined how developing countries might be affected by the Commission’s proposals for CAP reform set out in the November 2010 communication. One of the positive features in the [...]

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Heads you win, tails I lose

For some, farm subsidies are the answer to every problem

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Doha round agreement would leave EU farm subsidies untouched

Decoupling means EU has plenty of headroom if a WTO agreement to cap trade-distorting farm subsidies is reached

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Ciolos hearing at the House of Commons

On 13 January, Dacian Ciolos gave testimony to the UK Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on CAP reform.

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Food for thought against food security concerns

In December 2010, food prices exceeded the dramatic peak they had reached during the global food crisis in 2007/08. But food security is a weak argument for a ‘strong’ CAP.

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Commission’s home truths on the CAP

An obscure consultation document reveals what the Commission really thinks about the future of the CAP

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EU budget debate advances

The likely size of the EU budget in the next financial perspective period (the length of which still remains to be decided, whether 2013-2000 or 2013-2024) became a little clearer last month with the publication of a letter to the President of the European Commission signed by five Member States including France, Germany and the [...]

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Biofuels: is the game up?

The EU Commission’s report on indirect land use change related to biofuels and bioliquids released just before Christmas has made the continuation of the EU’s renewable energy in transport targets extremely problematic. Indeed, it is hard to see how this policy can survive in the New Year without some extremely clever footwork by the Commission. [...]

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Milk market on track for soft landing following quota removal

The Commission has just forwarded the first of two required reports on the milk market situation and the prospects for a smooth phasing-out of the milk quota system. The next one is due at the end of 2012. The report concludes that a “soft landing” is on track in an overwhelming majority of Member States. [...]

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Beef hormones dispute with the US

The US Congressional Research Service has just updated its review of the US-EU beef hormone dispute, one of the longest-running trade disputes under GATT/WTO dating back to the 1980s. The briefing sets out the milestones in the dispute, discusses the basis for the differing positions of the EU and the US on the scientific evidence [...]

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The future of direct payments: a Scottish view

The Commission’s November 2010 communication on the future of the CAP post-2013 envisaged that Pillar 1 direct payments might, in future, consist of three elements: a basic income support payment; a green payment; and a natural handicap payment. Another theme of the communication is that greater flexibility should be given to Member States in how [...]

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What has changed in the published Commission communication?

The formal Commission communication on the future of the CAP published today, and which Jack Thurston has summarised below in his own inimical way, had become available some weeks ago in a leaked version when it went into inter-service consultation. It is an interesting exercise to deduce, from a comparison of the two versions, what [...]

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Commission blueprint for future of the CAP

Commission explains why it’s vital the EU pays its farmers but puts off big decisions for another day.

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What ‘common’ agricultural policy?

New maps from DG Regio show the uneven benefits of CAP spending

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French government fighting itself

French environment and agriculture ministers in public dust up over the future direction of the CAP

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The surge in sugar prices

Why are rising sugar prices not feeding through into the market for ethanol feedstocks?

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Court of Auditors criticises sugar reform

The European Court of Auditors today released a report reviewing the outcome of the 2006 sugar regime reform. The Court makes some criticisms of the design of the 2006 reform, but more important are its findings and recommendations which are likely to feed into the debate on the shape of the CAP post-2013. Here the [...]

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French environment ministry coming out in favour of a green CAP

The French Ministry of the environment has spectacularly broken ranks with the Ministry of agriculture by publishing its vision ‘For a sustainable agricultural policy in 2013’. The 17-page document does not beat about the bush: it calls for a radical overhaul and puts down numbers. After stormy protests, it has been withdrawn from the Ministry webpage.

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Battle heats up on indirect land use change effects of biofuels

The EU renewables target of 10% of transport fuel by 2020 to be met mainly by biofuels has been heavily criticised for its potential impact on diverting land from food to fuel production and thus putting upward pressure on food prices. Another source of criticism is whether it does actually contribute to reducing overall greenhouse [...]

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The CAP and semi-subsistence farmers

One result of the last two enlargements in 2004 and 2007 was to bring millions of small farms into the EU, most of which are either subsistence farms (SFs) or semi-subsistence farms (SSFs). Various definitions of what is a subsistence or semi-subsistence farm exist (see the background paper on this topic by Sophia Davidova and [...]

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For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

New declaration by agricultural economists criticizes policy-makers’ status quo bias.

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EU budget review cautious on future spending priorities

The Commission has published its long-delayed budget review which follows a public consultation on the EU budget which began as a mid-term budget review in 2008-09. An earlier version leaked last year, and apparently drafted by Commission President Barroso’s advisers (see Jack Thurston’s post on this), recommended specific targets for the reallocation of EU spending, [...]

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Commission leaked draft fails to advance reform debate

The draft Commission communication on the CAP towards 2020 is an underwhelming document, not just for those seeking to push an ambitious reform agenda but also for those seeking a roadmap to address issues that the Commissioner himself has identified as up for discussion. As Mairead McGuinness, the Irish MEP, commented, it lacks both detail [...]

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The circle that cannot be squared

The leaked commission communication on the future of the CAP reveals internal contradictions in the core approach. An extended guest post by Jorge Núñez Ferrer

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The Commission communication leak in full

It is traditional that the Commission leaks a near-final version of its communications on CAP reform. Here’s this year’s.

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Rural development & regional policies

The EU’s rural development policies are excessively concentrated on agriculture and insufficiently integrated with other regional policies

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Franco-German position on future of the CAP

In the past, when France and Germany have worked together, they have been able to dictate the future of the CAP. A new policy position seeks to preserve this tradition.

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Public goods in the spotlight

‘Public money for public goods’ has become a powerful slogan in the battle for the future of the CAP. But what does it mean?

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Budget rumbles in Brussels

This autumn the future of the EU budget will take political centre stage in Brussels

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Why are we so lousy at measuring farmers’ incomes?

Tumbling farm incomes make good headlines, but the reality is that we don’t seem to be able to measure farmers’ income in a satisfactory way in the EU.

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Production effects of agri-environmental programmes

EU agri-environmental policy dates back to the mid-1980s and became a mandatory part of the EU agricultural policy toolkit in 1992. Initial implementation in many Member States emphasised policies designed to mitigate the environmental harm associated with agricultural intensification (e.g. by paying farmers to lower fertiliser inputs) but over time and under Commission prodding the [...]

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