Barnier et son 'B-Team' s'installent un camp de base à Bruxelles

With the Slovenian Presidency of the EU barely a month old, the French government is already limbering up for its defense of the CAP during the Health Check and the budget review when France takes the helm of the EU in the second half of 2008. Farms minister Michel Barnier is here in Brussels all this week along with his ‘B-Team’: a 22-strong crack unit of Paris-based diplomats and civil servants on a mission to familiarize themselves with EU institutions, places and faces and to plot with old allies in the battle against reform such as those reactionary dinosaurs at COPA-COGECA and their more youthful offspring.

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Agriculture Ministers hold first discussions on Health Check

Agriculture Ministers had their first discussion of the Commission’s Health Check proposals at the first Council meeting under the Slovenian Presidency yesterday. It appears that the two issues causing the most fuss are the Commission’s suggestions to introduce a progressive reduction in single farm payments to larger farms (inaccurately referred to as capping) and to increase the rate of compulsory modulation (which again would only affect larger farms), in both cases with the additional funds going to Pillar 2 rural development measures. At the same time, Ministers were clearly taken by the emphasis on risk management and safety nets in the Commission Communication and called for more specific proposals in this area.

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Public supports ‘consumer agenda’ in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring farmers against unpredictable market conditions and preserving small family farms.

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Public supports 'consumer agenda' in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring farmers against unpredictable market conditions and preserving small family farms.

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Musical chairs at the French Ministry for Agriculture

Michel BarnierThe surprise parliamentary election defeat last Sunday of Alain Juppé, a leading member of newly-appointed French cabinet has forced President Nicolas Sarkozy into an unplanned cabinet reshuffle. Newly appointed Agriculture Minister Christine Lagarde has been promoted to the post of Finance Minister. The resulting gap at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing has been filled by Michel Barnier, who until 2005 served as European Commissioner for regional policy.

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