Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sarko changes French stance on CAP

Observers like Jack Thurston have picked up signs of a change in the French stance on the CAP for some time. But now President Nicholas Sarkozy has promised to initiate a fundamental debate about its purpose next year when France takes over the EU's rotating presidency. Using words never used by a French president before to a farming audience, he told farmers at a cattle fair near Rennes that they had to learn to make a living from market prices rather than subsidies.

It's a change from the days when Jacques Chirac was de facto farm minister, but before we get too excited a reading of his speech suggests that he envisages the continuation of subsidies by other but more legitimate and acceptable means.

He framed a partly free market message with a demand for more EU wide protection for a sector he described as 'an essential pillar' of the French economy. The EU should set a goal of 'stabilising markets' in agricultural goods, one that, of course, it has had since the Treaty of Rome. It would do this by re-establishing the principle of 'community preference', although he did not spell out what this would mean in practice.

He said that a reformed CAP would need to meet four objectives: ensure food security for Europe (groan); contribute to a growing global demand for food; preserve rural economies and landscapes; and help combat climate change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

France has more to gain from the total removal of the Common Agricultural Policy, agriculture makes up just one small piece of the French economy, what about pharmaceuticals, electronics, information technology, car manufacturing, aircraft manufacturing, financial services etc. French farmers are holding back France and the rest of Europe