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Category: General posts

30.03.2010

Is there anything that is not special?

Agriculture is special. It therefore deserves an outstanding dose of public subsidies. Or so we are told. But is there anything that is not special? The standard approach of CAP critics is analytical: debunking erroneous claims for subsidies. The problem is that rational argument goes only that far. So the idea is to try something else: making up far-fetched cases in favor of subsidizing non-agricultural sectors. Their resemblance to some pro-CAP arguments would show the latter’s absurdity. The alternative is to look at non-agricultural regions: cities' claim to special treatment give a real-world set of arguments that is hard to match.

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22.03.2010

A guide to the CAP web page jungle

More sites dedicated to the CAP are becoming available and multi-issue sites improve their coverage of CAP issues. A structured selection of CAP blogs, Internet platforms and research institutes can be found here. This post takes a closer, comparative look at three leading sites: cap2020, capreform and reformthecap.

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17.03.2010

Rename the CAP!

Names matter, and Common Agricultural Policy is the wrong name for a policy promoting European public goods related to land use.

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11.03.2010

How can direct payments be justified after 2013?

Stefan Tangermann (retired OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture, and Professor Emeritus, University of Göttingen) has written a powerful critique of the Single Farm Payment in Agra Europe. He concludes that 'Targeted payments to farmers providing specific public goods where they are needed are a much more convincing policy than general payments arguably justified by cross-compliance.'

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11.03.2010

Socialist EP group postion paper

1789: the people of Paris take the Bastille. 1848: republican upheaval all across Europe. 1917: the Communists take power in Russia. 2010: the European Socialists & Democrats declare in a position paper that the CAP needs to be revolutionized.

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25.02.2010

Who is the right partner for environmentalists?

The recent joint position paper by BirdLife and the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), presented on 27 January 2010, raises the question with whom environmentalists should ally for CAP reform.

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25.02.2010

Co-financing of public goods

Many argue that we should first agree on the objectives of the future CAP, then select the most suitable policy instruments, and talk about financing only at the very end. But financing issues cannot be delayed in the political debate - the Commission’s leaked budget review conclusions mention that ‘a larger responsibility of current CAP spending could be assigned to the Member States, or direct aid could be co-financed by national contributions’. This contribution submits four theses on co-financing, that is, the sharing of subsidy costs between the EU and the Member States.

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25.02.2010

Against the Green Box Illusion

It is often believed that subsidies that fall into the WTO’s Green Box are indeed 'green' or otherwise legitimate, and that the Single Farm Payment and the second pillar of the CAP deserve this stamp of approval. That's not true - here is why.

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25.02.2010

Tobacco subsidies in Spain

Cigarette boxes warn: Smoking kills.
But the EU still subsidizes tobacco plantations. Ana Carricondo from the Sociedad Española de Ornitología traces the weird twists of tobacco support in her country. While some improvements have been made recently, tobacco farmers still receive 4,000€/ha on average.

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20.02.2010

Forest owners for a sustainable land use policy

Forestry covers almost as much land as agriculture – but only 3% of the CAP budget is earmarked for forests. One would think that this imbalance would make forest owners long-standing critics of the CAP. Not so. For one thing, many forests are owned by the government, and governments won’t lobby against their own policy. More importantly, many forest owners also happen to be farmers, and the more powerful agricultural lobby has managed excessively well to subdue its smaller sibling in this close relationship.

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