In Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, nine-year old Oliver, fed up with the miserable gruel he and the other boys in the parish workhouse were given, walks up to the master and asks for more. The next day, there was an announcement on the workhouse gate offering five pounds to anyone willing to take Oliver off the hands of the parish.
The UK, it seems, also wants more from the European Union, not only access to the single market but also exemption from the free movement of labour. It has put not one, but two Olivers, to work on this request.… Read the rest
Following a first round of discussions on UK demands for a renegotiation of the terms of its membership of the EU at the European Council meeting last month, it now seems that the February meeting of the Council will agree on some package of measures and promises in response to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands. It will then be up to Cameron to decide if this package is sufficient for him to campaign to stay in the EU in the referendum promised to take place before the end of 2017 and possibly later this year.
Even if Cameron decides to campaign in favour of staying in, there is no guarantee that the UK voters will follow him.… Read the rest
The 8th Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA2015) was held yesterday in Brussels. This annual meeting, organised jointly by the European Landowners’ Association and Syngenta, attracts around 1400 participants and has established itself as one of the principal fora for debate on the future of agricultural policy. What makes the event interesting is that it attracts a good number of participants from among farmers and the agri-business sector while also being open to environmental NGOs and others critical of current agricultural practices.
The theme for yesterday’s meeting was the UN Sustainable Development Goals and possible implications for EU agriculture, with contributions from both Commissioners Hogan (Agriculture) and Vella (Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries).… Read the rest