Plus ça change?

Sarko has done it again. In a brilliant media stunt, he has managed to grab the headlines and project a dynamic image of a changing France, in “rupture” with the Chirac era. I don’t want to ruin the party, and I certainly hope France is moving forward, but his speech is worth a closer look. Yes, he is promising a brand new CAP. But if you look at the few contents, it all sounds quite “déjà vue”. … Read the rest

Danish parliament unanimously calls for elimination of CAP support

Some Danish colleagues told me recently that the Danish Parliament on 30 May last unanimously passed a resolution requiring the Danish government to propose a strategy for how it would actively work for the elimination of EU agricultural support. The strategy should include a timeframe and plan of activities which should take into account the planned CAP Health Check in 2008 and the review of the EU budget in 2009. The strategy should be presented to Parliament before the end of 2007. … Read the rest

Get paid for blogging the CAP!

In the six months since it was launched, the CAP Health Check blog has established itself as the best place on the web for news, views and debate on the future of European food, farming and rural policy. We are now looking to expand our team with new voices and have secured funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation so that we can now pay bloggers a modest amount in recognition of their contribution to the debate on the future of the CAP.… Read the rest

Set aside: act now, think later…

Following a Swedish proposal and widespread support in the Agriculture Council, the Commission announced the intention to set the level of compulsory set aside at 0% for the 2008 harvest. This is bad news for Europe’s wildlife and suggests a disappointing level of commitment to environmental sustainability on the side of the EU and its Member States. It also seems like a textbook case of ill conceived decision making. … Read the rest

Sad news

secondoIt is with great sadness that I report to readers of CAP Health Check the sudden and unexpected death of Secondo Tarditi, one of the agricultural policy experts contributing their thoughts to this blog. A fuller appreciation of Secondo’s life and his contribution to European agricultural economics will follow. In the mean time we express our sadness and extend our sympathies to Secondo’s family and friends who are mourning the loss of a talented, vivacious and charming man.… Read the rest

CAP policy instruments and policy goals: cause or effect?

Fellow blogger Wyn Grant presented a paper in Paris last month which presents a wide-ranging overview of the changes in CAP policy instruments since its inception to the present day. His basic thesis is that over time the instruments have changed much more than the objectives and that this does reflect a shift in the content of the CAP and its ultimate goals. He concludes that it is changes in CAP policy which have led to changes in policy instruments, although he does cite some examples where the introduction of new instruments, possibly by creating obvious anomalies, can spark off wider policy debates (trading SFP entitlements, voluntary modulation).… Read the rest

Phase out subsidies by 2020 says Miliband

Britain’s Defra secretary told the Oxford Farming Conference is committed to a system by 2020 where ‘public funds are only used for public goods, in particular environmental benefits.’ This would mean the effective end of Pillar 1 and of restraints on trade. ‘I see an inevitable process of trade liberalisation, with huge pressure on subsidies and restraints on trade.’ Contrary to the views of the farm commissioner, the 2008 CAP health check should be used to pursue a ‘further fundamental reform’.… Read the rest

Green box does distort trade, claims Indian study

A report commissioned by the Indian Department of Commerce and carried out by UNCTAD’s Indian team challenges the EU’s argument that decoupled aid payments have only a minimal trade distorting effect. According to the researchers’ model, EU farm exports would fall by a massive 45 per cent if Green Box subsidies were removed and production would fall by close to 6 per cent.… Read the rest