Who gets what in EU rural development funds

In December 2006 European Union heads of government agreed a new Financial Regulation, the legal text that sets out the rules for the EU budget. The new Financial Regulation contains new requirements on the public disclosure of end beneficiaries of EU funds. The first significant fruits of the new budget transparency law are due by 30 September 2008, the deadline set out in the implementing regulations relating to expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy. By this date each member state is obliged to provide a web-based search tool detailing all end beneficiaries of EU funds spent under rural development programmes between 1 January 2007 and 14 October 2007 (sometimes referred to as the second pillar of the CAP).… Read the rest

The great targeting debate

Czech agriculture minister Petr Gandalovic made an curious statement at the informal Agriculture Council meeting held earlier this week in the French Alps. Mr Gandalovic, who will assume the chairmanship of the Council under the Czech EU Presidency in the first half of 2009, told his colleagues:

“The more specific you make the policy, the more room you give to bureaucrats who make the decisions. Non-targeted payments give more power to farmers.”

In case it’s not clear, Mr Gandalovic was making the case against targeted payments. In doing so, perhaps inadvertently, he touched on a question that goes to the very heart of the debate about the future of the CAP: the extent to which the CAP’s 54 billion euros of annual public expenditure should be targeted on clearly defined objectives and measurable outcomes.… Read the rest

Bureaucracy, greed and vanity threaten EU plan to help world’s poorest farmers

The European Commission has published its plans to divert up to a billion euros from CAP underspends to a new fund to help farmers in the developing world to increase productivity in the face of the world food crisis. Higher food prices have meant lower CAP expenditure on market measures such as intervention, storage and export refunds and the Commission has suggested redirecting parts of these savings to agricultural production in the third world. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner Louis Michel and Farms Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel have all spoken enthusiastically about the idea, but there are growing rumblings of opposition, from both the Council and the Parliament, both of which will have to approve the plan if it is to become a reality.… Read the rest

Bureaucracy, greed and vanity threaten EU plan to help world's poorest farmers

The European Commission has published its plans to divert up to a billion euros from CAP underspends to a new fund to help farmers in the developing world to increase productivity in the face of the world food crisis. Higher food prices have meant lower CAP expenditure on market measures such as intervention, storage and export refunds and the Commission has suggested redirecting parts of these savings to agricultural production in the third world. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner Louis Michel and Farms Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel have all spoken enthusiastically about the idea, but there are growing rumblings of opposition, from both the Council and the Parliament, both of which will have to approve the plan if it is to become a reality.… Read the rest

New CAP spending figures show raw deal for new member states

New official figures on how the the €53.5 billion of EU expenditure on the Common Agricultural Policy was distributed in 2007 show just how raw a deal the new member states are getting under Pillar One of the CAP, which still accounts for four fifths of the total CAP budget.

The figures are presented in a novel interactive data visualisation below (you may like to play around with the settings for Bubble Size, Label and Colour.… Read the rest

A CAP that Delivers for Biodiversity?

The vast majority of expenditure under the CAP continues to be directed to income support and is not explicitly targeted at responding to biodiversity, or other pressing environmental objectives. According to a new IEEP study for the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) the distribution and allocation of CAP funding, and the uses to which it is put to, should be adjusted in order to help meet the EU’s international commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity.… Read the rest

Manna from heaven? CAP 'spare change' to boost developing country farmers

Surging prices for agricultural commodities means that the EU spends much less on the traditional ‘market measures’ of the CAP such as intervention buying when prices fall below a target price, export subsidies and private storage aid for unsold surpluses. Last year the EU decided to allocate some of this underspend to the Galileo space programme. This year, the proposal is to channel the money to farmers in developing countries who currently suffer from very low productivity.… Read the rest