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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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The Polish Presidency and Agriculture: A Mixed Performance

The Polish Presidency was not focusing especially on agriculture but has reached some important results as well as missed some opportunities depending on which side of the coin one looks.

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The changing landscape of agricultural support

While levels of agricultural support and protection have been falling in OECD countries, agricultural support in a number of (but not all) emerging economies has been increasing. Rising agricultural support in emerging economies may lead to these countries breaching their WTO commitments, and this trend will raise difficult questions about the reasonableness and fairness of these commitments.

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Europe’s hens to have a happier New Year

Europe’s laying hens are looking forward to a happier New Year, but what will happen to the eggs from the 50 million birds still kept in conventional battery cages?

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Environment Ministers fail to endorse Commission’s greening proposals

The refusal of the Environment Council meeting on 19 December last to endorse the Commission’s greening proposals in its legislative proposals for CAP reform has been interpreted as a victory for agricultural interests attempting to water down the greening element in these proposals. But this interpretation may underestimate the extent to which there is genuine doubt about the effectiveness and environmental value of the measures that the Commission proposes.

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The challenge of moving to the regional model

Moving to the regional model of basic income support poses considerable challenges for member states which currently use the historical model. An Irish proposal seeks to create a linkage between the mechanism used for converging payments across member states and flattening payments within member states, but will it fly?

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CAP reform conference December 19th 2011

Commission conference with academics and researchers on the CAP reform legislative reform proposals on 19 December 2011.

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Agreeing the allocation of CAP funds between Member States

Ireland proposes an allocation key based on Pillars 1 and 2 combined which has the virtue of consistency but which would need further modifications to make it acceptable to the new member states.

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What Durban means for EU agriculture

Decisions at the Durban climate conference will have potentially important effects for the challenges facing EU farming as it attempts to reduce its carbon footprint in order to meet EU greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

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Launch of E-learning CAP course

New online learning course about the CAP launched.

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Agricultural consequences of the eurozone crisis

The EU agricultural and food sectors, and the negotiations on CAP reform, are unlikely to remain unaffected by the continuing eurozone crisis.

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New CAP income payment could produce new policy failures

The new CAP reform should take account of the differentiation of the level of payments by the use of land.

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The sacred cow of the two pillars

It is stated and accepted everywhere that the future CAP should be based on the existing two pillars, pretending that the current structure is working well.

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Public goods measurement concerns in the CAP post 2013

It seems that the Commission neglects the fact that we cannot properly measure the value of public goods in Europe.

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EFAs v. Set-Aside

Ecological Focus Areas are new departure for the CAP that seek to boost ‘green infrastructure’

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New Commission study on impacts of Doha Round

New study suggests the EU along with China would be the major winner from a conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations, with limited impacts expected for EU agriculture.

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‘Greening’ – a return to compulsory set-aside

Is a return to set-aside the best way of achieving environmental objectives?

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Russian WTO accession by end year?

There is now a real prospect that Russia will gain membership of the WTO before year end, which would bring benefits for the EU agri-food sector.

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Farmers and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

The European Trade Union Confederation has questioned whether farmers should be entitled to support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in the next financial framework period.

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On the justification for direct payments

The Commission can always find a reason to justify direct payments.

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The legislative timeline for CAP reform

MEP Mairead McGuinness points out that the timeline for the legislative procedure on CAP reform is very tight, with even the possibility the current regime would need be rolled over one year into 2014.

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Updated analysis of Commission legislative proposals

Updated and revised analysis of the trade and development implications of the Commission’s legislative proposals published.

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Analysis of the Commission’s legislative proposals due tomorrow Wednesday 12 October

ICTSD have published a draft paper that I have authored examining the trade and development implications of the measures likely to be included in the Commission’s legislative proposals on CAP reform tomorrow. Click on the heading for the link.

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The future role for the European Innovation Partnership for agricultural productivity and sustainability

Information on how the new European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Sustainability and Productivity will work is scarce, but initial soundings raise a question mark over how much it will really do to reverse the declining growth in agricultural productivity.

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Eurobarometer on CAP reform

New poll shows public support for main thrust of the Commission’s reform plans

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Production effects of moving to flatter structure of direct payments

Redistributing direct payments between and across Member States will have only marginal effects on EU production, recent studies show.

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Updating the base period for SPS entitlements

Fears that proposal to use 2014 as the basis for new updated entitlements in Commission’s legislative proposal could lead to a land grab that would disrupt land rental markets.

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Problems viewing graphs in posts using Internet Explorer

Apologies that there appears to be a problem in viewing in-post images in previous posts using Internet Explorer, which means that often the browser does not display the associated graphs. At the moment I don’t understand the reason for this, but if you want to see the graphics, then please use an alternative browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera.

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What is the likely cost of greening Pillar 1?

The Commission estimates that the gross cost of the green measures in Pillar 1 will be at least €5 billion, although the cost to farmers will be lower because reduced market supply will help to raise product prices. Is this the best way of spending €5 billion to maximise the value of the additional environmental benefits produced by farmers?

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The future for national envelopes and Member State flexibility in Pillar 1

National envelopes to be replaced by broader scope for recoupling in Commission’s draft Regulation on direct payments post 2013.

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Court of Auditors launches broadside against deficiencies in agri-environment schemes

Court’s criticisms raise fundamental policy choice for the Commission as it seeks to shift more CAP spending to environmental public goods

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The mystery of the EU’s disappearing AMS

Or, how the EU managed to reduce its reported current Total AMS by rewriting the way it reports support to fruit and vegetable production.

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How will Rural Development funds be allocated among the member states?

Simulations of different criteria for the distribution of Pillar 2 funds in the Commission’s draft impact assessment show how political is the choice of objective criteria.

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Global food prices remain very high

The Commission has published its latest international food price monitoring newsletter for September. Continuing high food prices fuel concern about food price inflation in developing and emerging economies.

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