Thursday, October 27, 2011

'Greening' measures prove controversial

The 'greening' measures proposed in the Commission's CAP reform plans attracted criticism from several countries at last week's Farm Council in Luxembourg.

Defra secretary Caroline Spelman argued that the measures to take 7 per cent of land out of production amounted to a return to set aside. There was too much focus on taking measures in Pillar 1 rather than proven approaches in Pillar 2: Pillars

The Commission maintains that the measures are aimed at marginal land, but it does seem to be a rather blunt policy instrument. Having said that, not everything done in Pillar 2 has been cost effective by any means.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CAP reform proposals have no friends

The Commission's proposals for the reform of the CAP have not gone down well in any quarter and have managed to draw fire from Britain and France: Reform

Of course, it was ever thus and one is never going to devise a reform that is welcomed in all quarters. However, Franz Fischler as commissioner had a new vision for the CAP which was more adjusted to contemporary realities. He also showed great subtlety in the tactics that he used to secure some real changes in the CAP, albeit that much was left to be done.

One suspects with the present reform that it very much 'business as usual' with some greening at the edges. It is far from clear that the 'greening' element has been well designed and will actually achieve its aims and here the French have a point.

Similarly, the capping of payments has a populist appeal as it seems to target 'fat cat' farmers, but once again it reflects the confusion and uncertainty that surrounds what the real objectives of the CAP are. Is it a social policy, is it about food security or is it about a competitive and efficient agriculture? One doubts whether it is about the last objective.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No great suprises in CAP reform proposals

There are no great surprises in the widely leaked Commission proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy released today: CAP reform

Also, not surprisingly, UK ministers have criticised the proposals as inadequate.

The reform proposals have been overshadowed by the eurozone crisis which has understandably been dominating the EU agenda and media discussion. Its outcome will shape the future of the EU.

However, whatever shape the future eurzone takes, it is likely that budgetary pressures will ultimately play a substantial part in influencing the outcome of the CAP reform discussions.

Friday, October 07, 2011

CAP reforms 'turning clock back'

Farm minister Jim Paice has luanched an outspoken attack on farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos, accusing him of 'turning the clock back' in his proposals for CAP reform.

Paice was addressing a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference. He hinted at disappointment that the efforts that he and secretary of state Caroline Spelman had made to build relationships in Europe had not paid off.

Read more here: CAP reform