Alan Matthews

Economist
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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

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

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.

Does the Basic Payment make farmers lazy?

The Basic Payment may encourage some farmers to adopt an easy life, but it also facilitates efficiency-improving investment

The CAP and agricultural employment

Conflicting evidence whether CAP has helped to retain jobs in agriculture

The viability of EU farms

Around one-third of EU farm holdings are economically vulnerable, indicating potential for significant structural change

AGRIFISH Council meeting underlines pressures to reverse CAP reform

Conclusions from March 2017 AGRIFISH Council meeting indicate support for return to aspects of the old CAP.

COMAGRI rapporteur’s draft amendments to Omnibus Regulation

Some of De Castro’s proposed amendments to the Omnibus Regulation will likely prove controversial.

What can we expect following the CAP public consultation?

The Commission Communication on modernising and simplifying the CAP will likely focus on limited amendments to the current CAP basic acts.

GMO decision-making and the potential impact of Brexit

GM decision-making remains paralysed and Brexit will not help to resolve the deadlock.

Establishing the UK’s non-exempt limit on agricultural support after Brexit

Possible outcomes for UK domestic support commitments in its WTO schedule after Brexit

Brexit and Irish agri-food trade

Unless the UK can be persuaded to stay in the EU customs union, the value of Irish agri-food trade would suffer a swingeing cut.

Why further reform of the CAP is needed now

Why further reform of the CAP is needed now

Designating new Areas with Natural Constraints

The clock is ticking for those Member States/regions which have yet to submit their revised Areas with Natural Constraints delineations.

First COMAGRI discussion on Omnibus Regulation

COMAGRI sets out its views on how it intends to approach the Commission’s proposals on reform of the CAP basic acts.

Triggering the next revisions of the CAP

Revisions to the CAP basic acts in the coming years will likely be incremental, with a major rethink put off to 2022 or 2023.

More on the future of direct payments

How might direct payments be reformed in the next iteration of the CAP?

Bibliography of proposals for CAP post 2020 Feb 2017

Bibliography of documents relating to the CAP post 2020.

The US farm safety net

How the US farm safety net works

The future of direct payments

The future of direct payments will be one of the topics discussed at COMAGRI hearing on CAP post 2020 next week.

Has the starting signal sounded for the next CAP reform?

Commission 2017 Work Programme includes DG AGRI paper on future policy priorities for the CAP

Mitigation potential in EU agriculture

Commission impact assessment of proposed Effort Sharing Regulation may have deliberately down-played scope for agricultural mitigation

Is agriculture off the hook in the EU’s 2030 climate policy?

Impact assessment indicates no additional agricultural mitigation required to achieve EU 2030 climate targets

How external influences have shaped the CAP

EU agricultural policy is increasingly shaped by external forces and objectives, and this will continue to be the case after 2020

Impact of Brexit on the EU budget

Calculations showing the impact of Brexit on the net budget balances of the remaining Member States

Karl Falkenberg’s reflections on the CAP

Senior Commission advisor Karl Falkenberg’s views on what a sustainable CAP would look like.

Focus on the distribution of direct payments

Ranking direct payments by farm income shows that the 750,000 farms with the highest farm incomes receive 55% of all payments

Impact of Brexit on CAP budget net balances for remaining Member States

Germany and the Netherlands will be the main losers if CAP spending is maintained after Brexit.

The voluntary milk supply reduction measure in the July 2016 farm aid package

Evaluating the impact of the voluntary milk supply reduction programme must take into account slippage and the opportunity cost of milk not delivered.

Waking up to Brexit – two weeks on

Even with goodwill, we may not be able to avoid the re-imposition of tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU after Brexit

Supply management in milk policy

Over on the ARC2020 website, they are having a debate on the #MilkCrisis to which I was asked to contribute. Below is my contribution to that debate. “The weighted average milk price for the EU-28 in May was 26.6 c/litre, a price last seen during the last trough in the price cycle in 2009 when [...]

The UK opts for Brexit, what next?

The British people in their referendum yesterday expressed their wish to leave the European Union. It is a decision I deeply regret. I believe it will have negative consequences for the UK in terms of economic growth and possibly constitutional stability. For the EU, it is not possible now to foresee the longer-term consequences. At [...]

When is enough taxpayer aid enough?

The high dependence of Irish family farm income on public support must give pause for thought.

Much ado about nothing in TTIP leaks on food safety standards

The Greenpeace leak of the consolidated text of the TTIP SPS chapter shows how unwarranted the fuss about TTIP and food safety has been.

Milk policy in the EU – a case of policy incoherence

Member states want to restrict milk supply on the one hand while subsidising milk production on the other.

The dependence of EU farm income on public support

EU farms remain hugely dependent on public transfers and direct payments

Update on market crisis measures

How voluntary supply management and more flexible state aids can be used to address the market crisis.

Use of risk management tools in the CAP

Risk management remains the orphan of the CAP, according to new European Parliament study

Preparing for the MFF Mid-Term Review

European Parliament begins preparations for MFF Mid-Term Review/Revision

Further note on EU farm income trends

US farm income drop since 2013 much more severe than in EU

Recent trends in EU farm incomes

Average EU farm incomes have been remarkably resilient to recent market shocks despite severe falls in some member states and sectors

Council supports voluntary milk reduction scheme

EU Agriculture Council supports proposal for voluntary milk supply reduction scheme, but its effectiveness can be questioned.

Temporary supply management for milk offers no solution

Temporary supply management schemes offer no solution to the EU milk crisis

Agriculture in the debate over Brexit

Dispelling some myths on agriculture in the debate around Brexit

The 2016 mid-term review of the Multi-annual Financial Framework

The prescribed review/revision of the EU’s multi-annual financial framework will take place in 2016 – will it have implications for agricultural spending?

What endgame for GIs in the TTIP negotiations?

Different views on how to protect geographical indications (GIs) complicate finding a negotiating outcome in the TTIP negotiations.

WTO dimensions of a UK ‘Brexit’ and agricultural trade

How would the UK’s WTO commitments be established in the event of a Brexit and how constraining would they be?