French press for EU summit on CAP

French farm leaders have asked President Sarkozy to organise a Special Summit of EU heads of government on ‘EU ambitions for the agriculture and agri-food sectors.’ Perhaps the word ‘EU’ should be replaced by ‘French’.

French Farm Minister Michel Barnier has already made it clear that he wants to have an in-depth discussion on the post-2013 CAP at the Informal Farm Council in Annecy in late September. This has received a cool reception from Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel who told Agra Focus, ‘I am not sure that it is properly timed, to discuss this before we finalise the Health Check – but it is always a prerogatve of the Presidency to decide on the discussions during its tenure.’

Agra Focus also notes that during recent months ‘French officials – and Farm Minister Michel Barnier in particular – have been omnipresent in Brussels, taking every occasion to raise issues, present memorandums or reports, and launch new initiatives. No one in our editorial team can remember a Member State ever being quite so keen to take office.’

France no doubt sees the food prices ‘crisis’ and the way that food security has moved up the political agenda as an opportunity to advance its agenda of subsidy and protection.

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3 Replies to “French press for EU summit on CAP”

  1. France is also convening an extraordinary meeting of EU ministers to discuss the current situation in the end game of the WTO Doha Round of trade talks (it’s unclear at this stage whether its agriculture, trade or foreign ministers).

    “France will organise between 14 and 20 July an extraordinary meeting of European ministers of foreign affairs… to quickly deal with European positions regarding the WTO,” said France’s Europe minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet just before France took on the EU presidency on 1 July.

    There has been an increasingly tetchy war of words between President Sarkozy and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, with the President variously blaming Mandelson for the Irish ‘no’ vote on the Lisbon Treaty and threatening to rein in his negotiating mandate at the WTO. Mandelson (who is notoriously thin-skinned for a seasoned politician) has hit back, saying that France’s recent rhetoric on trade was “populist and self-serving” and arguing that “Europe cannot view the future of world trade solely through the lens of agriculture and agricultural subsidies.”

    French officials have meanwhile been talking about a 20 per cent drop in European agricultural production if the current Doha draft deal were to be adopted. The econometric modelling behind this figure has not been released and most economists I’ve spoken to believe that the figure was arrived at using the TOANDI methodology (‘think of a number, double it’).

  2. Michel Barnier will not have an in-depth discussion on the post-2013 CAP at the Informal Farm Council in Annecy in late September, he will just introduce the discussion… on 23 september in the morning. Without any doubt Ministers and the Commission will prefer technical visits in the alpine farms.

  3. Jack, I confirm that nobody here (Paris) seems to know where this 20% figure comes from. Sarkozy seems to have come up with it on TV, and then has stuck to it.

    He might have picked up a figure that has circulated for the beef – or more exactly suckling cows- sector only (which I find reasonable and perhaps even optimistic for that particular sector, even though we don’t know yet what would be the compensation if beef was listed as a sensitive product). The French ministry of agriculture does not have a single model that would allow them to come up with a figure for the EU (not even the GTAP model). Their models (MAGALI and MEGAAF-developed by INRA for the latter) are for the French sector only. So, where this figure comes from is quite a mystery…

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