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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?

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The European Parliament report on the measurement of farm support

A variety of estimates of the level of farm support circulate. Many of them rely on creative accounting. For example, during the recent farm bill debate in the US Senate on C-Span television, a Senator claimed that the EU subsidized its farmers seventeen times more than the US, quoting as “evidence” that farm subsidies accounted [...]

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Gunfight for CAP Budget Money

The CAP budget negotiations have started to heat up, negotiators have formed the clubs of like-minded countries. Also this time negotiations are mostly a (gun)fight for preserving or improving the net position of Member States.

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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.

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Negotiations on future CAP have speeded up

Despite the hot summer across Europe, the previous weeks were quite busy in Brussels. On June 18th and 19th 2012, the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee Rapporteurs presented their four draft reports on the reform on the Common Agricultural Policy, while one week on, on June 25th, these draft plans were confronted with national interests (based [...]

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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.

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Paper on CAP greening

Links to a recent paper and report I have written on CAP greening

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A mandatory minimum spending requirement on agri-environment-climate change measures in Pillar 2?

Attempts to water down the mandatory spending limits on agri-environment-climate measures should be resisted.

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What Rio+20 has for the CAP?

20 years have passed since the Earth Summit was organised in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will also be held in Rio this week and the apparent question comes what has happened in 20 years time. Almost nothing, many argue, as global sustainability is more on the [...]

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More supply management demanded in COMAGRI single CMO report

Michel Dantin’s draft COMAGRI report on the single Common Market Organisation regulation would allow producer organisations greater powers to manage supply particularly in crisis situations.

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Danish Presidency CAP reform progress report

The Danish Presidency has made some progress in narrowing the differences in Council on the CAP negotiating texts.

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COMAGRI draft report on rural development

The Capoulas Santos draft rapporteur’s report accepts the broad lines of the Commission’s proposal – greater coordination with other structural funds, abolition of the axes, more encouragement for innovation, inclusion of support for risk management – and concentrates on fine tuning some of its specific elements.

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London Olympics opening ceremony chimes with greening vision for the CAP

The dazzling opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a triumph of discipline, choreography, stagecraft. London will host the games later this summer and it was announced today that the 2012 opening ceremony will take an altogether different, gentler approach. The 2012 Olympics will open with a pastoral representation of the countryside comprising a [...]

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COMAGRI draft report on direct payments regulation

COMAGRI draft rapporteur’s report on direct payments addresses some of the concerns of Member States, but the overall environmental ambition likely to be delivered by this reform remains unclear.

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How the EU market looks to food exporters

The EU’s tariff regime for agri-food imports is highly discriminatory, intended to benefit developing countries in particular. But tariff barriers are still important for Southern Mediterrananean countries and South Africa.

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More thoughts on the European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture

The slowdown in total factor productivity growth in agriculture needs to be reversed, but there continues to be a lack of clarity about the Commission’s proposals and what they will mean in practice.

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Will the right tariff average stand up?

New tariff database allows assessment of EU agricultural protection in a global context.

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Macroeconomic conditionality and rural development funding

The Commission’s proposal to make rural development funding conditional on macroeconomic good behaviour in the next MFF might not be a good idea.

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The political economy of eliminating sugar quotas in 2015

Sugar producers and processers line up against sugar users in the debate on eliminating sugar quotas in 2015.

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Where stand the MFF negotiations on the CAP?

The MFF negotiating box dealing with CAP issues gives a good idea of the extent of the disagreements that must be bridged before a successful outcome.

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Achieving green growth in EU agriculture

The EU’s efforts to promote green growth in the food and agriculture sectors do not seem commensurate with the level of ambition required.

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Silence please: The second act has just started on greening

Latest evidence shows that negotiations on greening have moved to their second stage. Since 12 October 2011, numerous critiques have arisen regarding the greening proposals criticised as ineffective and overly-restrictive for farmers. As a response to these, the European Commission proposed making some farming practices ‘equivalent’ to the three greening measures last Tuesday. Practically, this [...]

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Delivering environmental benefits through agri-environment schemes

New IEEP study shows the inappropriateness of mandating fixed and uniform management actions across the whole of the EU to achieve environmental goals. Existing entry-level agri-environment schemes in member states involve very diverse management practices which are often revised in the light of experience.

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Who needs the Basic Payment Scheme?

A Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is about to replace the SPS and the SAPS from 2014, therefore payment entitlements obtained under SPS shall expire on 31 December 2013. Under the new BPS, entitlements will be allocated to farmers who apply for it by 15 May 2014 and if he/she has either activated at least one [...]

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The greying of Europe’s farmers

Europe’s farmers are getting older because of fundamental economic and demographic factors. There is little that age-specific agricultural policies can do to reverse or even slow this trend.

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Why no “Green Revolution” in new Member States?

  Competitiveness and innovation in the agriculture of new Member States before EU accession can be assessed as relatively poor. In a part of the area, the situation even resembled the situation in developing countries. In the parts where a certain level of development was achieved, i.e. closer to the Central Europe part of EU, [...]

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Court of Auditors wants clearer objectives for post-2013 CAP reform

Court criticises the Commission’s legislative proposals for failing to identify clear objectives which would allow the performance of CAP policies to be properly assessed.

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Cross compliance for labour laws?

The Global Mail reports on a shocking case of alleged abuses of migrant workers in the Spanish horticulture industry, concentrated in the southern Spanish region of Almería along a 200km strip of hothouses known as el mar de plásticos. This is where much of Europe’s salad vegetable crop is grown. Allegations range from payment below [...]

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How the CAP contributes to world market food price volatility

How the CAP’s tariff policy contributes to international price volatility.

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What is rural development about?

On 1 January 2011, 41% of EU-27 population lived in urban regions, 35% in intermediate regions and only 23% in rural regions, as suggested by the latest release of Eurostat. What is more, the population of urban regions grew by 5.2 per 1000 inhabitants, that of intermediate regions by 2.2‰, while rural regions decreased by [...]

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Latest EU AMS notification confirms declining trend in WTO amber box support

The latest EU notification of domestic support to the WTO contains no surprises, and documents the continuing downward trend in amber box support in the EU total.

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Are the CAP 2013 proposals a major reform?

A new Notre Europe study sees some merits in the Commission’s CAP 2013 proposals while arguing that it falls short of a major reform, but the proposals are defended as an initial step which can be further corrected and amended in future reforms.

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End the use of export subsidies in the 2013 CAP review

The opportunity should be taken to remove export subsidies from the Single Common Market Organisation regulation in the review of the CAP post-2013.

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EU biomass targets put pressure on global land resources

The EU’s renewable energy targets and not just biofuel mandates have potentially adverse effects for rural communities in developing countries, but requiring sustainability criteria is only a partial solution.

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The cost of flat-rate agri-environmental measures

New study of agri-environment schemes shows that it is worth going for more individualised, complex schemes in spite of the much higher administrative costs implied by this approach.

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On the complexity of defining active farmers

It seems that the definition of an active farmer is harder than one might expect at first sight.

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Basic Direct Payments for EU Farmers: The Proposal of the Commission of the EU

The EU Commission’s proposal to introduce changes in direct payments is based on the perception that a new rationale for these payments is needed. But the new justification for direct payments proposed by the Commission is not convincing as this post explains.

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Who cares about capping?

It seems that the introduction of capping is irrelevant to almost all stakeholders and therefore can result in a political consensus.

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Evolving alliance for saving the status quo

A new alliance, led by France, seems to have arisen to save the status quo in the CAP post-2013.

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Formulating interests of NMS in the CAP post-2013

Central European Chambers of Agriculture published a joint declaration last November demonstrating the interests of New Member States in the CAP post-2013.

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The green menu system: an idea worth considering

The idea of the “green menu system”, proposed by the Groupe de Bruges in their recently published critical analysis of the Commission’s proposals is well worth considering.

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Greening of the CAP: is the “Emperor Naked”?

The post is discussing whether the substance of the proposed greening of the CAP even allows for a more targeted and environmentally tailored orientation of the policy, or is it more about the fight for preservation of the money for agriculture. The answer could be that the green conditioning of the direct payments not only lacks a clearly defined target, which could lead to additional administrative problems, but also its environmental effects and economic justification are questionable.

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Leaked Commission figures sound death knell for biodiesel

Leaked figures for the Commission’s default values for carbon emissions from biofuels including indirect land use change suggest biodiesel might no longer be eligible to be counted against the EU’s renewable transport energy target.

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Agricultural Council discusses the single CMO

The first Agricultural Council under the Danish Presidency chaired by Danish Agriculture Minister Mette Gjerskov discussed the Commission’s proposed single CMO regulation last Monday. Divisions were evident over sugar quotas, but a positive sign was the number of ministers who expressly opposed the continued use of export subsidies.

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The political feasibility of CAP redistribution

The demand from the new member states for greater convergence in the value of the direct payment per eligible hectare in the current CAP negotiations means that the redistribution of budget resources between the member states is now firmly on the reform agenda. But it also makes reaching agreement much more difficult.

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The CAP at Fifty

Today, the European Commission has launched the fiftieth anniversary of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Commission’s campaign wants to emphasise the CAP as a cornerstone of European integration, as a policy that has provided European citizens with half a century of food security and a living countryside. No one wants to spoil a good party, but of course the overall balance sheet of the CAP remains controversial, to say the least.

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Rising agricultural incomes: good or bad news?

EU agricultural real income per worker has risen again in 2011, raising serious questions regarding the idea of continuous income support endorsed by the European Commission.

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More on the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-A)

Some further information on the Commission’s plans for the EIPA-A is now in the public domain, but we are still waiting for a Communication to spell out how exactly it will contribute to strengthening innovation in the agri-food sector.

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Changing global agricultural power

The UK Oxford Farming Conference commissioned a report to examine the dynamics and implications of global agricultural power. What is meant by agricultural power and why might it be important?

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Commission projects unchanged sugar market following quota elimination

The Commission’s expectations for the EU sugar market following the end of sugar quotas in 2015 are contained in its market outlook to 2020 publication published last month. The elimination of quotas is expected to have a negligible impact on the EU sugar market.

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