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 planned CAP Health Check in 2008 and the review of the EU budget in 2009. The strategy should be presented to Parliament before the end of 2007.
The resolution was proposed by the Radical Left (Radicale Venstre) party which, despite its name, is one of the Danish centre parties though not part of the present government. The government parties were apparently not wildly enthusiastic, but came round in support when it became clear that there was a parliamentary majority in favour.
While the CAP has helped to modernise European agriculture in the past, the background report says that it is now time to modernise the CAP. In particular, there is a need to focus the EU budget on future challenges, with more funds for research and innovation and less for agricultural support. It makes clear that agricultural policy should continue to be a common EU policy, and that it is important to avoid that EU support is simply replaced by national support.
The resolution specifies that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food should organise a number of thematic meetings over the next six months, leading up to an international conference in Denmark at the beginning of December 2007 with the objective of preparing a strategy for how Denmark can secure the broadest possible support among other EU members for its position that agricultural support should be phased out.
3 Replies to “Danish parliament unanimously calls for elimination of CAP support”
This is interesting, especially coming from a European legislature. In December 2005, the UK Government released a joint report by the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which also called for an end date to current CAP farm subsidies. The report was poorly received by all, including the House of Commons select committee that covers this policy area. Denmark has traditionally been a force for reform of the CAP, along with Sweden and the UK. Italy has been in and out of the reform camp and both the Netherlands and Germany have shown an inclination towards considering big changes to the CAP. I will soon be posting about current Dutch thinking, which to my mind offers some interesting directions.
It will be fascinating to see how much headway the Danes make in building a viable pan-European coalition. Also interesting that the country will be facing up to a fellow Dane in Agriculture Commissioner Fischer Boel, who served as farms minister in Denmark before going to Brussels.
But of course it is easy for a Parliament like the Danish to state that the work with modernising european agriculture is over and the CAP needs to be modernised since agriculture in Denmark is extremely well developed and could get by without support. But there really isnt much European solidaity with the Romanian, Polish rural population where the amount of people working in agriculture is high and the competitiveness is low. Untill the Danish Parliament actually get together a proposal that take the differences of rural Europe into account, all talks of scrapping the CAP are meaningless. Afterall it takes 27 member states to alter the CAP – including Romania and Poland
Your point is well made. But perhaps what is needed is for the likes of Poland and Romania to realise that the CAP, in particular Pillar 1 where most of the money is spent, is skewed against them, and in favour of countries like Denmark. See from figures over at farmsubsidy.org that Denmark actually heads the league table of payments per farm, and is far ahead of Poland in payments per hectare and total CAP spending per citizen. Poland and other new member states do much better when it comes to Pillar 2, so it is strange that they are so often in the vanguard of defending Pillar 1 payments.
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