EP draft report: Whereas all this is nonsense

The EP own-initiative report on the post-2013 CAP is taking shape as a new draft has become available (dated 24.3.2010). Though it is better packaged, and sexed-up with a ‘green growth’ tag, the content is just as dull and conservative as the earlier draft. The report captures the intellectual deficiency of the CAP-insider bubble.

The draft report suggests 5 ‘key building blocks’: area-based direct income support, climate change mitigation payments, payments to areas with natural handicaps, payments for biodiversity and environmental protection, and green growth subsidies with a focus on renewable energy. The first two payments are to be fully financed by the EU, and the other three co-financed by the member states.

Read the rest

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 intellectual guidance and hard data.

The flagship of OECD research is certainly the country-level analysis of agricultural policies, based on Producer and Consumer Support Estimates and enriched by a brief description of recent policy developments in the report on Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: Monitoring and Evaluation 2009.

Read the rest

A new decade, a new CAP

Five leading European farming and environmental NGOs, who between them boast several million members, have jointly published a blueprint for a new Common Agricultural Policy. In an unusual and very modern step, they have published a draft proposal and opened it for consultation. They will produce a final version in 2010. The proposal, which runs to 28 pages, is for a radical reorientation of the CAP away from a productivist and income support model towards a ‘public money for public goods’ ethos.

Read the rest

Fischer Boel's 'last feather' plucked

Earlier in the month I wrote that Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was holding the line against protesting dairy farmers and a clutch of national agriculture ministers looking for more aid for their troubled farmers. It looks as though I spoke too soon. At this month’s farm council, Commissioner Fischer Boel found a further 280 million euro from the 2010 budget to give to dairy farmers, in addition to measures announced last month.

Read the rest

Fischer Boel’s ‘last feather’ plucked

Earlier in the month I wrote that Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was holding the line against protesting dairy farmers and a clutch of national agriculture ministers looking for more aid for their troubled farmers. It looks as though I spoke too soon. At this month’s farm council, Commissioner Fischer Boel found a further 280 million euro from the 2010 budget to give to dairy farmers, in addition to measures announced last month.

Read the rest

Tackling the new (old) productivism

This afternoon I did a pre-recorded interview with BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme. The subject was the House of Lords report on the 2010 EU budget, which says too much money is being spent on agriculture. The first question I was asked by the presenter shows how deeply the new (old) productivism has taken root over the past year. I was asked something along the lines of “Given the fears about food security, don’t we need a well-funded agriculture sector?”.

Read the rest

Fischer Boel golden goodbye: "Because I'm worth it"

The anti-EU agitprop outfit Open Europe has been huffing and puffing over the golden goodbyes that await those European Commissioners who will be put out to pasture when the current Commission’s five year mandate comes to an end later this year. Among their number is thought to be our own Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel who, after five years of service in Brussels stands to receive approximately 270,000 euros of ‘transition money’ before her 43,000 euro a year pension kicks in.
fischerboelThe 66-year old Dane, who sports a trademark shock of snow white hair, has invoked the spirit of Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston in the L’Oréal commercials, insisting the payout is entirely justifiable “because I’m worth it”.

Read the rest

Fischer Boel golden goodbye: “Because I’m worth it”

The anti-EU agitprop outfit Open Europe has been huffing and puffing over the golden goodbyes that await those European Commissioners who will be put out to pasture when the current Commission’s five year mandate comes to an end later this year. Among their number is thought to be our own Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel who, after five years of service in Brussels stands to receive approximately 270,000 euros of ‘transition money’ before her 43,000 euro a year pension kicks in.

fischerboelThe 66-year old Dane, who sports a trademark shock of snow white hair, has invoked the spirit of Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston in the L’Oréal commercials, insisting the payout is entirely justifiable “because I’m worth it”.

Read the rest

The Estonian vision

A charming young Estonian woman greeted me at the European Parliament yesterday when I went to give evidence to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (of which more in due course). Of broader significance Estonia is probably the only new member state with a clear concept of how the CAP should evolve. This is outlined in an Agra Focus interview with farm minister Helir-Valdor Seeder.

Read the rest