French farm leaders have asked President Sarkozy to organise a Special Summit of EU heads of government on ‘EU ambitions for the agriculture and agri-food sectors.’ Perhaps the word ‘EU’ should be replaced by ‘French’.
French Farm Minister Michel Barnier has already made it clear that he wants to have an in-depth discussion on the post-2013 CAP at the Informal Farm Council in Annecy in late September. This has received a cool reception from Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel who told Agra Focus, ‘I am not sure that it is properly timed, to discuss this before we finalise the Health Check – but it is always a prerogatve of the Presidency to decide on the discussions during its tenure.’
Agra Focus also notes that during recent months ‘French officials – and Farm Minister Michel Barnier in particular – have been omnipresent in Brussels, taking every occasion to raise issues, present memorandums or reports, and launch new initiatives. No one in our editorial team can remember a Member State ever being quite so keen to take office.’
France no doubt sees the food prices ‘crisis’ and the way that food security has moved up the political agenda as an opportunity to advance its agenda of subsidy and protection.