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Alan Matthews

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Alan Matthews is Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy in the Department of Economics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. His major research interests are agricultural policy analysis, the impact of international trade on developing countries, and computable general equilibrium analysis of trade and agricultural policy reforms. He has worked as a consultant to the European Parliament, the OECD, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and the UN Industrial Development Organisation, and has been a panel member in a number of WTO Dispute Settlement procedures. He is a former President of the European Association of Agricultural Economists but writes here in a personal capacity.

Recent blog posts written by Alan Matthews

Update on the budgetary framework for the CAP post 2020 negotiations

The elements of the budgetary framework that could cause problems for the CAP post 2020 negotiations

State aid rules and the CAP 2020 legislation

Delay in updating the agricultural State aid instruments to make them consistent with the new CAP legislation could make finalisation of Strategic Plans more difficult

Market and trade effects of the next CAP reform

Review of the Commission Impact Assessment market and trade outcomes for different CAP scenarios

Member State CAP allocations and progress on the MFF

The Commission’s proposed Pillar 2 allocations by Member State show no political judgements to reflect changing needs or changing justifications for this expenditure have been made.

Evaluating the legislative basis for the new CAP Strategic Plans

How the CAP Strategic Plan legislation could be strengthened

Recent trends in EU WTO domestic support notifications

EU trade-distorting support creeping upwards in latest WTO notification

CAP spending in the next MFF

Commission’s MFF proposal implies that CAP spending as share of EU budget remains on long-term trend

The redistributive payment is more effective at redistribution

The redistributive payment can be an effective means of redistribution for Member States that want to use it.

More on capping direct payments

I want to revert to the topic of the capping of direct payments under the CAP, which I last discussed here and here. It is not the most important issue in the Commission’s legislative proposals for the CAP after 2020. But the issue of the fairness of direct payments was raised as an issue in [...]

Wales charts course towards radically different farm policy

Wales is one of the three devolved government regions which along with England make up the four countries in the UK. Its agricultural sector is, in absolute terms, small. Around 38,400 holdings farm an area of 1.9 million hectares, with an average farm size of 49 hectares. Just over 15,000 of these holdings receive support [...]

The Article 92 commitment to increased ambition with regard to environmental- and climate-related objectives

Article 92 requiring increased environmental and climate ambition in the CAP Strategic Plans needs to be strengthened

The greening architecture in the new CAP

The new green architecture proposed by the Commission has the potential to bring about a higher level of environmental and climate ambition if Member States care to use it

France’s puzzling interest in increasing the CAP budget

France’s support for an increased CAP budget is surprising

By how much is the CAP budget cut in the Commission’s MFF proposals?

Still questions on what Commission’s CAP budget allocations in next MFF mean for changes in the CAP budget

Why capping will be a mirage

Capping direct payments at €60,000 will have no effect as long as the loophole to deduct salaries first is allowed.

Commission assaults rural development spending to protect direct payments

The Commission’s MFF proposal assumes direct payments will be maintained in nominal terms while rural development expenditure will be cut by one quarter over period of next MFF

Is there a particular generational renewal problem in EU agriculture?

The ageing of the farm workforce can be explained by general social trends in Europe, and does not justify additional expenditure on young farmer schemes

The CAP and migration

Persuading African governments to increase their support for agricultural development would be a good thing, but it won’t reduce migration pressures

Implications of Brexit for developing countries’ agri-food trade

Brexit may provide both opportunities and threats for developing country exporters of agri-food products to the UK.

Co-financing CAP Pillar 1 payments

National co-financing of CAP Pillar 1 payments can both improve the efficiency of CAP spending and contribute to solving the budget gap in the next MFF

The Brexit negotiations on the future trade relationship

The European Council guidelines do not provide much comfort that a ‘cliff-edge’ at the end of 2020 can be avoided.

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement forwarded to UK

Does the draft Withdrawal Agreement mean the Turkish option for the UK during the transition period?

Measuring changing farm structure in the EU

Dairy herd structures have evolved very differently in the US and in the EU, will this change now quotas are eliminated?

A Tale of Two Policy Documents: DEFRA vs. Commission Communication

The UK vision of an agricultural policy without direct income support for farming contrasts with the Commission Communication

Why national co-financing of CAP Pillar 1 payments is needed in the MFF

National co-financing of CAP Pillar 1 payments should be introduced as part of European Council conclusions on the next MFF.

Brakes removed from voluntary coupled support

The Omnibus Regulation relaxes limits on coupled support.

The ANC delimitation controversy continues

Most Member States still to complete remapping of ANC areas, but Omnibus Regulation gives them another year. ,

Mr Oettinger’s budget arithmetic

It now looks likely that the Commission MFF proposal in May will shield the CAP budget from further unexpected cuts.

EU farm incomes in 2017

2017 was a record year for EU agricultural income

Rethinking EU budget spending on agriculture in the next MFF

How can the next Multiannual Financial Framework support a more efficient CAP?

Pitfalls on the way to a Brexit transition period

Agreeing on transition arrangements after Brexit could face legal and political difficulties

Decoding the CAP Communication

The CAP Communication repeats some well-worn nostrums that are well past their sell-by date, but it also embraces some forward-looking elements which deserve support.

How Member States are implementing the new CAP

Implementation of direct payments in 2015 shows total failure of degressivity and capping to have any impact

Another look at the possible Brexit implications for the CAP budget

Examining the financial constraints on the size of the CAP budget in the next EU Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF)

Leaked draft of the Commission Communication on Future of the CAP

The good, the bad and the unknown in the leaked draft version of the Commission Communication on the Future of the CAP

The UK must pay for access to the single market

The British Foreign Secretary, with his stance on possible UK budget contributions in return for access to the single market, may yet jeopardise the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit..

Macron’s views on the Common Agricultural Policy

President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for Europe in a major speech at the Sorbonne yesterday. This speech was billed as an Initiative for Europe and set out the President’s ambitions in a range of areas – defence, counter-intelligence, asylum and migration policy, an external policy focused on Africa and the Mediterranean, a sustainable [...]

The budgetary context for the CAP after 2020

How the EU budgetary context is likely to shape the CAP after 2020

Price transmission in the dairy supply chain

Processors smooth milk prices over the cycle and farmers seem to get a fair market price.

Which is the best risk management tool?

Farmers would prefer a fixed CAP budget to be spent on an income stabilisation tool rather than direct payments.

UK publishes proposals on customs arrangements with the EU

How should the EU respond to the UK’s proposals for customs co-operation after Brexit?

Which EU countries will bear the brunt of a hard Brexit?

Re-introducing tariffs on UK-EU trade would significantly reduce trade in certain sectors including foodstuffs

EU-Brazil WTO proposal on domestic support

The EU-Brazil WTO proposal on domestic support and public stockholding is a significant step.

Merkel’s stance on agricultural policy

CDU/CSU manifesto for German election in September lays out some objectives for the future CAP.

Avoiding the ‘cliff edge’: Immediate trade arrangements post-Brexit need to be given higher priority in Article 50 negotiations

The EU needs to give greater priority to immediate post-Brexit trade arrangements in the Article 50 negotiations

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EU farm incomes in 2016

2016 was an average year for EU-28 farm income, but individual Member States experienced very different trends

What the UK Conservative Party manifesto says about Brexit

UK Conservative Party manifesto confirms course for a ‘hard’ Brexit

Does capping direct payments make sense?

That 131,000 farms receive one-third of the direct payments budget cannot be justified.

Promoting rural jobs through the CAP

Using agricultural policy to create jobs has a clear opportunity cost which must be factored into decision-making.

CAP – out of the box thinking

RISE Foundation report argues for significant changes in the way the CAP budget is spent.