Monday, December 17, 2007

Join the CAP health check debate

You can do so at: Debate . Jack Thurston of farmsubsidy.org starts off with a critique of the shortcomings of the Health Check, but gets slagged off later for 2nd rate left-wing journalism! Inevitably, those with axes to grind are there whether ideological (GM) or particular (suckler cows in N.Ireland). There is also a plaintive plea for more information in Bulgarian.

I suppose that my view of these exercises is that they give the semblance of participation while the real decisions are taken elsewhere. As a debate, it is very difficult to get people to move from their fixed positions.

Launching the debate, Fischer Boel once again showed her susceptibility to food security discourses. Referring to an 'atmopshere of anxiety' surrounding the markets, she said: 'Renewed awareness of the importance of food is a good thing. We should never be complacent about supplying life's basic necessities.'

Given that farmers (other than livestock farmers) are now getting a better return from the market, one might think that now was a good time to substantially reduce subsidies.

In her presentation to the European Parliament Agriculture Committee, Fischer Boel seemed to go further than the Communication itself, for example by clearly indicating her preference for a longer-term shift towards a flat rate Single Farm Payment or for ending the 45€/ha. energy crop premium.

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