Thursday, July 08, 2021

CAP deal looks like business as usual

After months of difficult negotiations, a compromise was agreed on the next phase of the Common Agricultural Policy, but inevitably not everyone is happy, not least in France:

The new five year framework starts on 1 January 2023.  Direct payments to active farmers will account for 70 per cent or €192bn of the budget which still amounts to over a third of the overall EU budget.  However, at least 25 per cent of this support should be spent on eco schemes such as organic farming or integrated pest management.   Worthy those these schemes may be, do they represent any kind of strategy for tackling agriculture's contribution to climate change?

There is also a €450m a year reserve to bail out farmers in times of market crisis.  This is a substantial sum and it will be interesting to see how it will be triggered.

For all the bells and whistles such as member states being able to impose caps and reductions on direct payments to larger farms, this does look very much like a 'business as usual' settlement despite claims of a fairer, greener and simpler CAP:  Farm organisations have given it a lukewarm reception which suggests that it is not all that bad for their members.

Farmers in Britain are concerned that their competitors will continue to receive direct payments just as they are phased out in the UK.  Their continental counterparts will not be exposed to trade deals that facilitate cheap imports.

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