Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CAP reform proposals have no friends

The Commission's proposals for the reform of the CAP have not gone down well in any quarter and have managed to draw fire from Britain and France: Reform

Of course, it was ever thus and one is never going to devise a reform that is welcomed in all quarters. However, Franz Fischler as commissioner had a new vision for the CAP which was more adjusted to contemporary realities. He also showed great subtlety in the tactics that he used to secure some real changes in the CAP, albeit that much was left to be done.

One suspects with the present reform that it very much 'business as usual' with some greening at the edges. It is far from clear that the 'greening' element has been well designed and will actually achieve its aims and here the French have a point.

Similarly, the capping of payments has a populist appeal as it seems to target 'fat cat' farmers, but once again it reflects the confusion and uncertainty that surrounds what the real objectives of the CAP are. Is it a social policy, is it about food security or is it about a competitive and efficient agriculture? One doubts whether it is about the last objective.

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