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Podcast: Paulo Casaca MEP on the chaos of Parliament's farm policy

Paulo Casaca MEPIn the second of today’s podcasts from the European Parliament, Paulo Casaca MEP gives his immediate reaction to a series of votes on the CAP health check that saw many MEPs break ranks from agreed party lines, evidence of the passions that are aroused when the Parliament debates food and farming. He argues that the Parliament has lost its way on the CAP and must come up with a new vision for the future of the policy. Mr Casaca is a Portuguese member of the Socialist Group and represents the Azores. He sits on the Budget Committee and chairs the pro-CAP reform Land Use & Food Policy Intergroup.… Read the rest

Podcast: Neil Parish MEP on today's health check vote

Neil Parish MEPThe European Parliament today votes on the CAP health check. I spoke with Neil Parish MEP (pictured right), who represents the largely rural constituency of South West England and is a farmer himself. He also chairs the Parliament’s agriculture committee, which drafted the report that is being voted on today. Perhaps unusually for a committee chairman, Neil will be voting against his own committee’s report. We discuss the key issues in the health check end-game and the role of the Parliament, the prospects for the CAP reform in the EU budget review and the positive effect of the fall of sterling for UK farmers.… Read the rest

Podcast: Neil Parish MEP on today’s health check vote

Neil Parish MEPThe European Parliament today votes on the CAP health check. I spoke with Neil Parish MEP (pictured right), who represents the largely rural constituency of South West England and is a farmer himself. He also chairs the Parliament’s agriculture committee, which drafted the report that is being voted on today. Perhaps unusually for a committee chairman, Neil will be voting against his own committee’s report. We discuss the key issues in the health check end-game and the role of the Parliament, the prospects for the CAP reform in the EU budget review and the positive effect of the fall of sterling for UK farmers.… Read the rest

Fischer Boel in the European Parliament

Mariann Fischer Boel attended the plenary debate on the CAP health check in the European Parliament earlier today. There is little to report from the debate – most of the contributions were bland and reflected the general desire of the European Parliament to water down the Commission’s reform proposals. Neil Parish MEP called for the pace of reform to continue but it was Brian Simpson MEP who made the most powerful dissenting speech, ripping into the Parliament’s draft report, written by Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos MEP. Mr Simpson concluded that

“Your position, Commissioner, on compulsory modulation, is right. Your position on decoupling is right.

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European Parliament defends farm fat cats

If Europe’s wealthiest landowners, from the Duke of Westminster in the UK to Prince Albert of Monaco to the fabulously-named Johannes Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d’Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein (aka Hans Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein) were having sleepless nights over the future of their six and seven figure annual handouts from the Common Agricultural Policy, they can rest assured that they have friends in high places. Or at least, they have friends in the European Parliament.… Read the rest

Turkeys vote for Christmas

By approving a set of proposals to water down the already modest Commission proposals for the health check, the agriculture committee of the European Parliament has reinforced its reputation for thinking rooted firmly in the past and largely captured by the narrow set of producer interests who do well from the CAP status quo. As I have argued before, the lack of ambition of the health check is playing into the hands of the growing number of those who would like to see the CAP swept away altogether.… Read the rest

McDonald’s, Lidl and big biotech at the Copa-Cogeca annual congress

Time is running out to book your place at the annual Congress of European Farmers, organised by COPA-COGECA, the umbrella organization that attempts to represent European farm unions in Brussels. The two-day meet-up, entitled “Visions for the future of agricultural policy in Europe” takes place on 30 September and 1 October. Having perused the programme, Berlaymole is barely able to contain his excitement. … Read the rest

McDonald's, Lidl and big biotech at the Copa-Cogeca annual congress

Time is running out to book your place at the annual Congress of European Farmers, organised by COPA-COGECA, the umbrella organization that attempts to represent European farm unions in Brussels. The two-day meet-up, entitled “Visions for the future of agricultural policy in Europe” takes place on 30 September and 1 October. Having perused the programme, Berlaymole is barely able to contain his excitement. … 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