One would not expect candidates in the French presidential election to advocate less spending on the CAP or looser regulation, but there are significant differences of emphasis.
President Sarkozy said that he would focus his efforts if re-elected on improving the competitiveness of French farmers. 'Farmers are entrepreneurs, they want to live from work, not from direct aid.' he said.
One might question how far the CAP in its current form encourages them to be enterprising. However, Sarko was clear that France 'would fight against all attempts to reduce the CAP budget.'
Francois Hollande said that basing aid on farm size was unfair to specialist producers who had holdings of only a few hectares. Aid should take employment on farms into account. Needless to say, some French producers would benefit.
He also said that there should be more regulation of supply, saying that there too few policy instruments and specifically regretting the phasing out of milk quotas as a regulatory tool.
Many commentators, of course, favoured getting rid of the rigidities which this system introduced and which did nothing to boost the international competitiveness of the EU's dairy sector. But then that is clearly not a concern for Hollande.