Fischer Boel golden goodbye: "Because I'm worth it"

The anti-EU agitprop outfit Open Europe has been huffing and puffing over the golden goodbyes that await those European Commissioners who will be put out to pasture when the current Commission’s five year mandate comes to an end later this year. Among their number is thought to be our own Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel who, after five years of service in Brussels stands to receive approximately 270,000 euros of ‘transition money’ before her 43,000 euro a year pension kicks in.
fischerboelThe 66-year old Dane, who sports a trademark shock of snow white hair, has invoked the spirit of Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston in the L’Oréal commercials, insisting the payout is entirely justifiable “because I’m worth it”.… Read the rest

UK Tories on a crooked path to protectionism?

I realise that opposition politicians have to say all things to all persons and jump on any bandgwagon that’s going on, but I must say that I found an interview with Nick Herbert, the shadow Defra secretary, in Farmers Weekly a bit disappointing. It remains to be seen whether the MP for Arundel and South Downs will be Defra secretary in David Cameron’s Conservative government, or even whether Defra will remain in his present form. However, if his thinking is typical of that in the shadow cabinet on agriculture and food matters, it’s a bit worrying. It looks as if we could be lurching back towards productionism.… Read the rest

Don't watch this, take a look at that

You will be forgiven for wondering why things have been a little on the quiet side here at CAPHealthCheck.eu over the past couple of months. For my part, besides some intensive behind-the-scenes work at farmsubsidy.org and and exciting new EU budget transparency project that’s still under wraps, I’ve been blogging more on the EU budget than on the CAP, mostly over at FollowTheMoney.eu. Among the other leading contributors to this website, Wyn Grant has been on a fact-finding visit to Australia and Alan Matthews has been attending to his teaching responsibilities as well as working away on his forthcoming magnum opus on the CAP and global development.… Read the rest

Don’t watch this, take a look at that

You will be forgiven for wondering why things have been a little on the quiet side here at CAPHealthCheck.eu over the past couple of months. For my part, besides some intensive behind-the-scenes work at farmsubsidy.org and and exciting new EU budget transparency project that’s still under wraps, I’ve been blogging more on the EU budget than on the CAP, mostly over at FollowTheMoney.eu. Among the other leading contributors to this website, Wyn Grant has been on a fact-finding visit to Australia and Alan Matthews has been attending to his teaching responsibilities as well as working away on his forthcoming magnum opus on the CAP and global development.… Read the rest

10 reasons why the Single Payment Scheme is politically unsustainable

The EU spends around 30 billion euros each year on the single payment scheme, by far the largest of the myriad schemes and programmes that together comprise the 54 billion euro budget of the Common Agriculture Policy. The scheme was first introduced in 2005 but it is hard to see it surviving in its current form beyond the end of the EU’s 2007-13 financial perspective. Here are five reasons why the single payment scheme is not politically sustainable. Five more will follow tomorrow.… Read the rest

Farmers queue overnight for subsidies

It’s not uncommon to see reports of people queueing up all night for the latest iPhone, the next Star Wars movie or tickets to watch tennis at Wimbledon. But as I write, farmers in Northern Ireland are queueing outside for farm subsidies. The government in Northern Ireland has decided to hand out farm subsidies ‘on a first come first served’ basis. The decision was taken because this particular funding package is worth just £6 million and is capped at £5,000 per application so only 1,200 farmers stand to benefit. Farmers are to be sleeping out in the cold to ensure they get a good place in the line.… Read the rest

Return of the butter mountain

It was the recession of the 1930s that ushered in agricultural protectionism and subsidies, not least in the United States. Now the European Union has reverted to two of its old favourite policy instruments: intervention buying and export subsidies in the dairy sector just when we thought we had seen the last of them. Stocks of butter disappeared completely in 2007.

Faced with a drastic drop in dairy prices, the EU is to buy 30,000 tons of butter at a guaranteed price. Over three times as much skimmed milk powder is to be purchased – 109,000 tons. In addition, export subsidies will be given to skimmed milk powder, butter, butter oil and cheese.… Read the rest

Court of Auditors' report on cross compliance is damning

It’s no wonder that the Commission suppressed the Court of Auditors report on cross compliance for as long as it could – the report is damning and undermines the Commission’s case for the legitimacy of EU farm subsidies.
Speaking in 2005, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel explained how she sees cross compliance in relation nearly 40 billion euros of public expenditure on payments to farmers:

“I would emphasise that decoupled payments are not “money for nothing”. To get the cheque in the post, a farmer has to respect a demanding range of standards related to the environment and animal welfare. We call this system “cross-compliance”.”

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Court of Auditors’ report on cross compliance is damning

It’s no wonder that the Commission suppressed the Court of Auditors report on cross compliance for as long as it could – the report is damning and undermines the Commission’s case for the legitimacy of EU farm subsidies.

Speaking in 2005, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel explained how she sees cross compliance in relation nearly 40 billion euros of public expenditure on payments to farmers:

“I would emphasise that decoupled payments are not “money for nothing”. To get the cheque in the post, a farmer has to respect a demanding range of standards related to the environment and animal welfare. We call this system “cross-compliance”.”

Read the rest