Wednesday, March 29, 2006

France reasserts CAP leadership

France has sort to reassert its traditional leadership of European agricultural policy with a paper presented to the latest Farm Council setting out a vision for the future of the CAP. The paper can be seen as a riposte to the liberal agenda set out by Britain in a paper of its own last November.

The French paper received a far more favourable reception than that from Britain. Only Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Britain spoke out against the French paper which was endorsed by Germany, Italy and Spain among other countries. A centrepiece of the paper was a call to shore up the incomes of farmers in the face of increasingly tough markets.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Fischer Boel's head of cabinet, Poul Skytte Christopherssen implicitly criticised Britain by stating that 'complex questions about the future of agricultural policy are not boiled down to the single issue of money.' However, he insisted that his boss 'has always been a reformer. She remains, and will remain, a reformer.' Maybe. But she is no Franz Fischler in terms of having a comprehensive vision for the overhaul of the CAP.

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