Tag Archives: Blog posts

For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

New declaration by agricultural economists criticizes policy-makers’ status quo bias.

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Rural development & regional policies

The EU’s rural development policies are excessively concentrated on agriculture and insufficiently integrated with other regional policies

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OECD research on the CAP

Agricultural ministers of the OECD met in late February 2010 – the first time since 1998 – and issued a communiqué that touches on everything and says close to nothing. For once, such an empty statement is perfectly fine. The OECD Secretariat doesn’t need its ministers in order to do an excellent job in providing [...]

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The BirdLife-ELO escapade

BirdLife International has made a mistake in getting into bed with the European Landowners Organisation

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Fischer Boel valedictory leaflet

Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has announced she’ll not seek a second term in office. Unlike predecessors Franz Fischler and Ray MacSharry there is no round of CAP reform named after her and perhaps it is to make up for this that the Commission has just published a new leaflet.

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Timetable for the next ‘truly big’ CAP reform

Roger Waite, one of the sharpest analysts of EU farm policy writes at farmpolicy.com on the timetable for the next CAP reform. Definitely worth reading. “Analysis from Brussels”- by Roger Waite- Towards the Next, Truly Big CAP Reform- The Timetable

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Addressing the dairy crisis – is US intervention buying a good thing for EU producers?

Today, the US raised its intervention support prices for some dairy products as a way of supporting the US farm price for milk. The support price for skimmed milk powder was increased by 15 percent and for cheddar cheese by 16 per cent for a limited 3-month period. Immediately milk prices on the Chicago Mercentile [...]

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Where to find data on EU export refunds?

Recently, I was looking for an internet source for EU export refunds – not overall expenditure, but the refund rates for individual commodities by month. What I was hoping to find was an Excel worksheet which set out this information, but it seems extraordinarily hard to come by. The nearest I could get was the [...]

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Does farm size influence environmental outcomes?

A widely-accepted justification for subsidising agriculture is that we need to prevent the emergence of the industrialised, mono-cultural agriculture which is the inevitable result of an efficiency-based, cost-oriented farming model by protecting the diversified, environmentally-friendly small farmer in order to maintain the positive environmental benefits of European agriculture. This is part of the philosophy of [...]

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The (re-)distribution of CAP subsidies

Just days before the final ag Council meeting under the Czech EU presidency, member states’ positions on the Council Conclusions are still far apart. Things look a lot like last year when France attempted to show the way to long-term CAP reform, while some states resisted any move that could pre-empt the budget review/financial framework [...]

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Urban development – the ultimate challenge

Agriculture is special. It therefore deserves an outstanding dose of public subsidies. Or so we are told. But is there anything that is not special? The standard approach of economists (and others who happen to think clearly though writing about agriculture) is analytical: debunking erroneous claims for subsidies. The problem is that rational argument goes [...]

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Health check redux and commodity market worries

There is an excellent piece of analysis from Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts, on the final health check legal texts and the current situation in commodity markets. Falling prices are worrying farmers and piling the pressure on policy makers to turn the clock back on the CAP, with the ink barely dry on the [...]

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The great targeting debate

Czech agriculture minister Petr Gandalovic made an curious statement at the informal Agriculture Council meeting held earlier this week in the French Alps. Mr Gandalovic, who will assume the chairmanship of the Council under the Czech EU Presidency in the first half of 2009, told his colleagues: “The more specific you make the policy, the [...]

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+++New WTO modalities paper is published+++

Full details at the WTO’s website. WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said: “These revised texts set the stage for a decisive moment in the Doha round. Ministers and other senior officials will soon arrive for intensive negotiations the week of 21 July. They need negotiating documents which are clear and precise as they consider the [...]

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Mapping the CAP 1: Google maps v farmsubsidy.org

Over at farmsubsidy.org you can see the first fruits of a mapping project which aims to place every EU farm subsidy payment on a fully interactive web-based map, powered by the excellent Google Maps. The first country to get the mapping treatment is Sweden, chosen because its government has been by far the most transparent [...]

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“Notre Europe” brainstorming

The think tank “Notre Europe” just released a document on the future of the CAP. Notre Europe’s point of view is that because the health check (HC) is likely to lead mostly to short term adjustments, the “real” debate on the CAP is likely to take place before the next financial perspectives. The outcome could [...]

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Health Check ‘explainer’ by Roger Waite

Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts and long-time Brussels CAP watcher, has written a superb ‘health check explainer’ for farmpolicy.com, the US-based farm policy news source. The briefing covers what the health check is in terms of policy, process and politics. Highly recommended reading and reproduced in full below, with permission.

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Irish farmers flex muscles in Lisbon Treaty referendum

The WTO negotiations have become a live issue in Irish politics because Ireland is the only EU country which will hold a referendum to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, and the campaign provides an opportunity for interest groups to maximise their bargaining strength. For example, farm groups who are traditionally pro-EU in referendum votes have threatened [...]

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Agriculture Council fun: rename the CAP

Agra-Facts is one of the best CAP news sources, although it does come with a fairly hefty price tag that probably puts it out of reach of anyone who is not professionally involved in European agriculture policy. Roger Waite, Agra Facts editor, tells me that he would like to open the Agra Facts competition to [...]

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Churchill, Malthus, Brown, Barnier and agricultural protectionism

Earlier this week, BBC Radio 4 broadcast Churchill Confidential, a dramatisation of British cabinet meetings chaired by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, records of which have only recently been released into the public domain. In this week’s episode, looking at Churchill’s second term of office (1951-55), we get an overview of the pressing issues of state [...]

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So how green is the Health check “green paper”?

The Commission’s “CAP Health Check” communication acknowledges the fact that European Farming and countryside face unprecedented environmental challenges: continuous biodiversity decline, increasing climate change and a looming water crisis. The Communication fails however to come up with credible proposals for dealing with these challenges. It was hoped that the Commission would use the Health Check [...]

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The health check paper: Homeopathy rather than surgery?

The recently leaked Commission Green paper sets the scene for the upcoming health check. What emerges at the moment is a very cautious and minimalist approach, in line with what the Commissioner has been promising for a while. Two things seem striking. The first is the choice to ignore the budget review debate. The second [...]

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More on who benefits from farm subsidies

Jack Thurston reviews some recent academic studies, including a recent paper by Stefan Kilian and Klaus Salhofer from the Technische Universität Munich, which make the point that much of the benefit of agricultural support policies does not end up in the hands of farmers who are its intended beneficiaries, but rather benefits landowners. However, my [...]

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More on capping direct payments

Much initial reaction to the Commission’s leaked Health Check proposals has focused on its renewed attempt to introduce a cap on the Single Farm Payment amount which an individual farmer can receive. In fact, the proposal does not amount to a cap in the sense of an absolute ceiling, but takes of the form of [...]

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Leaked proposals on subsidy payment limits: first analysis

Analysis of the Commission’s leaked proposals for the CAP Health Check show that the payment limitations proposal is significantly less ambitious than the proposal made during the Agenda 2000 (1999) and Mid-Term Review (2003) reforms of the CAP.

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Why farmers in the New Member States love the CAP

Jerzy Wilkin of Warsaw University in a recent paper has summarised the agricultural experience in the New Member States (NMS) under the CAP since they joined the EU in 2004. One of the points he highlights is the change in attitudes among farmers to the EU particularly in Poland, the largest of the New Member [...]

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Plus ça change?

Sarko has done it again. In a brilliant media stunt, he has managed to grab the headlines and project a dynamic image of a changing France, in “rupture” with the Chirac era. I don’t want to ruin the party, and I certainly hope France is moving forward, but his speech is worth a closer look. [...]

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Danish parliament unanimously calls for elimination of CAP support

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 [...]

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Get paid for blogging the CAP!

In the six months since it was launched, the CAP Health Check blog has established itself as the best place on the web for news, views and debate on the future of European food, farming and rural policy. We are now looking to expand our team with new voices and have secured funding from the [...]

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Set aside: act now, think later…

Following a Swedish proposal and widespread support in the Agriculture Council, the Commission announced the intention to set the level of compulsory set aside at 0% for the 2008 harvest. This is bad news for Europe’s wildlife and suggests a disappointing level of commitment to environmental sustainability on the side of the EU and its [...]

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secondo

Sad news

It is with great sadness that I report to readers of CAP Health Check the sudden and unexpected death of Secondo Tarditi, one of the agricultural policy experts contributing their thoughts to this blog. A fuller appreciation of Secondo’s life and his contribution to European agricultural economics will follow. In the mean time we express [...]

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CAP policy instruments and policy goals: cause or effect?

Fellow blogger Wyn Grant presented a paper in Paris last month which presents a wide-ranging overview of the changes in CAP policy instruments since its inception to the present day. His basic thesis is that over time the instruments have changed much more than the objectives and that this does reflect a shift in the [...]

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Phase out subsidies by 2020 says Miliband

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 o…

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Green box does distort trade, claims Indian study

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 [...]

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