Monday, November 29, 2010

The Commission stance

The final version of the Commission Communication on the CAP does not differ that much from the original leaked version. Some of the language has been watered down a bit, e.g., on the 'capping' of payments to large farms. Probably it is in there in the first place to give something that Britain and Germany will have to use up political capital on. It's an idea that has been around a long time, but is flawed in all sorts of ways.

The paper is a typical Commission compromise which pleases no one: reformers, farmers or environmentalists. However, no doubt the Commission would say that it offers a basis for an eventual settlement. In other words, EU politics is all about messy compromise and not about good policy. It's a realistic stance, but not a very politically attractive one if one hopes for visionary thinking from the EU (if anyone still does).

At the end of the day it is the discussions on the budget that will determine what sort of CAP we will have after 2013. It will probably somewhat greener; fairer in the distribution of income between member states; but still reliant on subsidy and protection.

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