New EP Ag committee line up

With co-decision on agricultural issues likely to come into force from next year, the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has assumed a new importance and there was plenty of competition for places. However, one unasnwered question is whether the Budget Committee will have a stronger influence on plenary voting patterns than the Ag committee.

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A chorus of despair

Earlier this week I was invited to take part in a round table discussion, as part of a major conference on the future of the CAP, organised by Birdlife/SEO and WWF. The conference began with a joint presentation by SEO and WWF of an interesting new proposal for CAP reform in Spain. The proposal envisages an end to Pillar 1 by 2019 and the transfer of all CAP funds to an environmental and rural policy oriented around the principle of ‘public money for public goods’, by which is meant those environmental ‘services’ provided by farmers, particularly in areas of high nature value (HNV) farming such as upland pastures and native grasslands.

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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”.

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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”.

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Why CAP reform happened

The latest Journal of Common Market Studies (vol.47, 2, March 2009) contains an important article exploring the determinants of CAP reform. It is written by Alan Swinbank, a distinguished agricultural economist and a leading proponent of reform and Arlindo Cunha who was chair of the Agriculture Council in 1992 at the time of the MacSharry reform.

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Tenant farmer tells it like it is

I have a lot of sympathy with tenant farmers. It is sometimes said that farmers are asset rich but income poor, by which it is meant that they own a lot of extremely valuable land but don’t make a whole lot of profit from working it. In the case of tenant farmers, who have to rent their land, they are too often asset poor and income poor.

The UK Tenant Farmers Association recently held its annual jamboree and, fresh back from his half term holiday in Egypt, National Chairman Greg Bliss gave a speech. He used the occasion to share some observations about agriculture policy that I thought might be of interest to readers of this blog.

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