Monday, October 16, 2006

Are CAP's natural predators awakening?

Farm subsidies campaigner Jack Thurston who runs the excellent website on farm subsidies has responded to the story below on the 'health check' on the CAP: 'As well as payment limits, the health check may also include a minimum farm size to qualify for any payments, i.e. a 'franchise'. The single farm payment has seen a big increase in the number of claimants, often it costs more for the government to administer the payments than the payments are worth. A lower limit on payments was specifically mentioned by Fischer Boel at a public meeting on 17 July 2006 in Brussels. See:

Report

Jack Thurston continues, 'It is currently not clear how the CAP health check will fit in with the review of the EU budget that is scheduled for 2009. What is certain is that we are in an era of fiscal restraint in the EU, so any new money for new projects will have to be found from within existing budgets, highlighting in sharp relief the "opportunity cost" of the CAP. The natural predators for the CAP may finally be awakening.'

Since Jack wrote these notes, Commission Fischer Boel clarified that she will not accept budget cuts to the CAP as part of the general EU budget review in 2009, but admitted that the same guarantees could not be made after 2013.

She also said that 'These are busy days in the kitchen - lots of pots are boiling at the same time. Rather than keeping the door to the kitchen sealed I have decidd at an early stage to give an impression of what is boiling under our lids.' A look at cross compliance was first of the menu, followed by the consequences of partial decoupling and the choice of model for implementing the SPS.

Hardly an inviting or daring menu and some of us would like to see the kitchen closed in its soup kitchen role for farmers.

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