One of the first appointments made by President Hollande’s prime minister Jean-Marie Ayrault was to make current MEP Stéphane Le Foll the country’s new farm minister.
A close ally of Hollande, Le Foll’s appointment may prove to be an extremely shrewd move by the new French president as the Socialist MEP has been heavily involved in scrutinising the European Commission’s CAP reform proposals as part of the Parliament’s agriculture committee and is a substitute for the budget committee. I have seen Le Foll in action myself when I have given evidence to the agriculture committee and he is clearly very smart.
Le Foll has also authored a report calling for measures to help EU agriculture adapt to the effects of global warming. It is likely that he will push for a stronger ‘greening’ element at the CAP negotiating table, which will not please some British farmers, as well as a fairer distribution of aid among member states. Of course what is 'fair' is very much in the eye of the beholder.