Sunday, July 03, 2011

Initial win for France

France has won the first round of the CAP budget negotiations with the Commission recommending that the farm budget should be frozen in real terms up to 2020, although additional provision would be made for the accession of Croatia and a €500m 'crisis intervention fund': Budget

Of course this is only the first stage in a long battle. The budget plans also assume a 5 per cent increase in the overall budget at a time of fiscal austerity and the UK has made it clear that it will oppose this increase. If it went ahead it would shrink the CAP share of the budget from 45 per cent to 38 per cent despite the total farm envelope being protected.

This budget recommendation might seem to confirm the view that French educated farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos is in the pocket of Paris. NFU president Peter Kendall recently criticised him for favouring a bucolic view of the countryside that promoted small, traditional farms (which are numerous in Romania) Mr Kendall said that Mr Ciolos had taken a 'Lark Rise to Candelford' view of agriculture which was old fashioned and shunned development.

There are concerns that the complexity of the changes proposed for the CAP and the delays which result from co-decision mean that any new package will not be brought into place by the target date of 1 January 2014. It might have to be delayed for one year.

It has become increasingly evident that the CAP in its current form will outlive me but I wonder if it will also outlive my granddaughter who starts secondary school in September.

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