While many are disappointed by the lack of ambition in the Commission’s health check proposals, there’s no doubt that Commissioner Fischer Boel has been on form when it comes to the pithy soundbites.
In a cool put-down of the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and his recent proposals for dismantling the income support and market intervention measures that still form the core of the CAP, the Commissioner aired a suspicion that member state finance ministers might be genetically modified organisms,
“When I saw my Darling, my new Darling’s advice for the CAP, it reminded me quite a lot of something I had seen before. I don’t know if it’s a special gene in finance ministers that they want to cut all payments as low as possible. It’s a nice paper, a really nice statement, but it’s completely politically impossible to achieve this.”
Separately, The Scotsman reports that the Commissioner proposed a new way of evaluating the €53 billion that the EU spends on the CAP each year:
“Regardless of what protection we offer to farmers, it is paramount to me that the measures act like a safety net and not a comfortable chair.”
Henceforth this shall be known as the Fischer Boel Comfortable Chair Doctrine. Unlike her predecessors Ray MacSharry and Franz Fischler, Mariann Fischer Boel may never give her name to a round of CAP reforms, but the Comfortable Chair Doctrine will surely live on.