Later today Stefan Tangermann will step down as Director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate, a post he has held since 2002. The OECD has a strict ‘retire-at-65’ rule and it may surprise some to learn that the tall and spritely German, invariably sporting one of his trademark bow-ties, has reached such an age. Professor Tangermann has been a colossus among European agriculture policy analysts for at least two decades. Before taking the job at the OECD he was professor of agricultural economics at the University of Göttingen, having been appointed to that position in 1980.
He is probably most famous for the ‘bond scheme’ for CAP reform – under which a future stream of entitlements is converted into an attractive lump sum ‘buyout’ – that he devised in 1991 and subsequently elaborated with Professor Alan Swinbank of Reading University. Two weeks ago he gave a presentation at the European Commission’s conference on the future of the EU budget. He presents a succinct summary of why CAP reform is still very much needed, and what direction reform should take. He did not advocate any particular exit strategy from direct payments such as converting subsidies into tradable bonds. Perhaps once he has freed himself of the constraints of being an OECD employee he will advocate his own personal vision on how bring political economy and agricultural economics can be combined to achieve a more rational European farm policy. You can watch the presentation in full below.
Chapeau, Stefan! Enjoy your freedom but please don’t give up on the battle for CAP reform. Europe needs you!