French president Nicolas Sarkozy has blamed trade commissioner Peter Mandelson's stance on trade for the Irish referendum result. Sarkozy said, 'A child dies of starvation every 30 seconds and the Commission wanted to reduce European agricultural production by 21 per cent during World Trade Organisation talks. This was frankly counter productive.'
Apart from the fact that the Commission has never suggested a specific cut in production, which is beyond its control, only cuts in tariffs and subsidies, developing countries would be able to raise their standard of living if they had a more commercial agriculture which had better access to world markets.
Peter Mandelson hit back, saying'Any suggestion that Europe can turn its back on open trade or reverse globalisation is a dead end for the people of Europe.' He added, 'Europe cannot possibly feed the rest of the world but Europe can help the rest of the world to feed itself by reforming its trade-distoring agricultural policies.'
This does not bode well for the French presidency, although the likely delay to implementation of the Lisbon treaty would also postpone the introduction of co-decision to the CAP - which could make reform more difficult.