An attempt by President Bush and Commission President Barosso to re-start the stalled Doha Round trade talks may not succeed in the face of rising protectionist sentiment in the new Congress and intransigence over subsidies in the EU. Meeting in Washington last week the two leaders instructed their chief trade negotiators to come forward with a deal ‘as soon as possible’. Talks involving the EU, US, Brazil and India are likely to take place in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland at the end of January.
Britain’s Defra secretary told the Oxford Farming Conference is committed to a system by 2020 where ‘public funds are only used for public goods, in particular environmental benefits.’ This would mean the effective end of Pillar 1 and of restraints on trade. ‘I see an inevitable process of trade liberalisation, with huge pressure on subsidies and restraints on trade.’ Contrary to the views of the farm commissioner, the 2008 CAP health check should be used to pursue a ‘further fundamental reform’.
The European Parliament has thrown out a plan agreed at the 2005 summit of EU heads of government to allow the transfer of funds from Pillar 1 expenditure on farm subidies to Pillar 2 rural development to be increased up to a maximum of 20 per cent. Only the UK was planning to use the full amount, given that it receives low levels of rural development funding and wants to find money for its ambitious agri-environmental schemes. The Parliament can only delay the eventual decision, as it is not part of the co-decision procedure.
A report commissioned by the Indian Department of Commerce and carried out by UNCTAD’s Indian team challenges the EU’s argument that decoupled aid payments have only a minimal trade distorting effect. According to the researchers’ model, EU farm exports would fall by a massive 45 per cent if Green Box subsidies were removed and production would fall by close to 6 per cent.
Welcome to the CAP Health Check blog. This is where to come for news, views and analysis relating to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and specifically the ‘health check’ (or policy review) scheduled for 2008. The blog brings together the work of researchers, activists and analysts from across Europe and elsewhere. If you want to contribute your analysis or views to the blog, please use the contact form to get in touch or send email to email@example.com. If you want to comment on a particular story, use the comment form at the bottom of every story.
There’s very little on the blog right now, but the hope is that over time it will build up into a valuable resource for people interested in the future of Europe’s farming, food and rural development policies.