Agricultural economists declare war on the CAP

I’ve always found the notion of ‘agricultural economists’ a curious one. As if the normal rules of economics don’t apply to agriculture and there’s need for a special discipline of agricultural economics. In universities agricultural economists are often housed in their own special departments, separate from the regular Economics department. I wonder if this alternate universe of agricultural economics might explain the state of agriculture policy, whether in the EU, the US or elsewhere. Anyway, today a group of agricultural economists from 22 EU countries has come out in favour of radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

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French CAP plan nixed by Council

Today’s meeting of the Agriculture Council witnessed the frequently irrestistable force of French attachment to the Common Agricultural Policy run into the occasionally immovable object of UK, Swedish and new member state desire for change. The result was that a much-trumpeted French vision paper for the future of the CAP beyond 2013 was roundly rejected. In the end France used it’s presidential prerogative to adopt the paper as ‘Presidency conclusions’ but as such it has no political weight whatsoever. Some will remember that UK vision paper for the CAP lauched in the final weeks of its own EU presidency at the end of 2005 met a similar fate.

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+++Netherlands government position paper+++

The Dutch have a well-deserved reputation for straight talking and so it is with the Government’s new position paper on the future of the CAP. As the following paragraph shows, there is no ambiguity over where the Netherlands government stands on the great targeting debate:

In the long term – as described in the present document– there will no longer be any question from the Dutch point of view of generic support for agriculture but solely of targeted payments for promoting competitiveness and sustainability and for socially desirable performance. This approach means that a drastic change will be necessary over the next few years.

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Rethinking Less Favoured Areas

The Less Favoured Areas directive is one of the few examples of British influence on the design of the CAP. It was originally conceived as the Mountain Areas Directive with France pressing for a definition that would have excluded Britain’s hills and uplands. But the British emphasis on latitude rather than altitude won the day in 1975. Other member states saw the Less Favoured Areas directive as a good route to justify more cash for their farmers and by 1995 56 per cent of the utilised area of the EU was designated as less favoured. In Scotland, 85 per cent of the farmed area has LFA status.

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Commission's health check proposals leak again

This is the latest in a series of leaks of the Commission’s proposals for the health check, due on 20 May. The explanatory memorandum outlines the latest thinking on the various elements of the package including the issue of progressive modulation: a gradually rising level of compulsory modulation, with higher rates for recipients getting more than €100k, €200k and €300k. You can download it here (http://tinyurl.com/4p5h4p) and read for yourself.

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Commission’s health check proposals leak again

This is the latest in a series of leaks of the Commission’s proposals for the health check, due on 20 May. The explanatory memorandum outlines the latest thinking on the various elements of the package including the issue of progressive modulation: a gradually rising level of compulsory modulation, with higher rates for recipients getting more than €100k, €200k and €300k. You can download it here (http://tinyurl.com/4p5h4p) and read for yourself.

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Sneak peak at latest health check leak

Anyone itching to find out what the Commission will be proposing for the CAP health check next Tuesday 20 November need look no further. DG Agri is as leaky as the proverbial sieve and after the jump we have for your reading pleasure the latest version of the consultation document, including a markup of changes made since the AgraFacts leak back in October.

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69 Ways to Reform the CAP

Analyses of the contents of the Commission’s Health Check Communication have heightened in recent days with the content of the leaked draft document reported in the agriculture press. Of particular interest from an environmental perspective, is the resurgence of the little applied Article 69. This article is housed within the current CAP legislation, Regulation 1782/2003, and allows a Member State to skim off up to ten per cent of the monies to be directed at one sector and provide an additional payment that is targeted at the ‘protection or enhancement of the environment’, or for ‘improving the quality and marketing of agricultural products’.

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