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 data and expert analysis in a readable and analytically comparative way. It is an excellent factual companion for anyone looking at the diversity of European agriculture and the different policy paradigms that prevail across the EU.
One of the authors is Tia Hermans, a Dutch researcher who previously co-authored an excellent study of the geographical distribution of farm subsidies in the Netherlands. Tia tells me that the website “provides an overview of how the 27 EU Member States have been implementing the CAP and what they think about its future role.”
It appears to have been at least part funded by the Dutch government and its analysis of the politics of CAP reform in each member state is drawn from reports by agriculture attachés of the Dutch government in embassies across the EU. The UK agricultural attachés also prepare such reports for the UK government but to date these have not been put into the public domain.
One of the biggest challenges for reformers is how to craft winning proposals that take into account the varied approaches to agricultural and rural policy across the EU. The availability of resources like this can only help reduce the information deficit.