CAP Research File

In the internal political life of the EU the Common Agricultural Policy seems guaranteed to hold and maintain pride of place as the topic which produces the highest level of acrimony and vitriol per paragraph of debate space. It has also featured of late as the hotspot which lead to the summer low-point in Franco-British relations. Yet while the debate is strong on heat, it is often poor on detailed information. A report whose final draft is being made available to a wider public this week may help to do something to remedy this failing.

The report – entitled The Territorial Impact of CAP and Rural Development Policy 2002 – 2004 – is based on research carried out at Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research, based in Aberdeen, Scotland, and was funded by the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON).

The report , described by the FT today as “one of the most comprehensive undertaken of the CAP” shows “that even after the recent CAP reforms, rich regions in Germany, the UK, France and the Netherlands will take a greater slice of the ?90bn farming subsidies than poorer regions in southern and eastern Europe, accentuating the difference between rich and poor rural regions”.

The latest full version of the report, which is advertised on the Arkelton Website as available here (see first item in list) seems not in fact to have received a link yet (but should appear soon). You can however find an earlier version (end March) on the Espon Website (careful, this is a heavy duty PDF – 9.3 MB – with a lengthy download time, and with a hefty 394 pages of reading content).

The FT quotes Mark Shucksmith, now professor of planning at Newcastle University and one of the authors of the report, as saying: ?The CAP was designed to support the sorts of products grown in northern European countries and in such a way that it benefits larger farms, because it works by supporting prices, which means the more you produce the more subsidy you get. So more money is going to the richest regions….. the newest entrants to the EU could benefit several times over from reform of the CAP. They would receive more equitable treatment while reform would free more money for assistance to the poorest areas”.

Also, as stated on the Arkelton Website:

The principal conclusion from this ESPON project is that in aggregate the CAP works against ESDP objectives of balanced territorial development, and does not support the EU objectives of economic and social cohesion. Moreover, in terms of polycentricity at the EU level, Pillar 1 of the CAP appears to favour core areas more than it assists the periphery of Europe, and at a local level CAP favours more accessible areas. In recent years the CAP has undergone a series of reforms, and some of these have begun to ameliorate these conflicts of objectives. The Commission’s proposals for a revised RDR for 2007-2013 are a further step in this direction. The report highlights the scope to amend Pillar 2 to favour cohesion, and suggests that this holds out the best potential for amending agricultural and rural development policy to support territorial cohesion and the ESDP.

Well, have a good weekend, and happy reading :).

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

5 thoughts on “CAP Research File

  1. This will certainly make some reading material but i have a small tidbit to add too.

    Just where and to whom does all that money flow anyway? Certainly not to farmers who have trouble making ends meet but to those who can…

    The ?non? was also against the CAP

    Prof. Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 22 June 2005

    ” 2.Who gets the CAP spending?

    The French political elite ? left, right and centre ? has been using farmers as a political crutch for decades. They make voters think that the CAP helps hard-working, hard-pressed farmers. They evoke images that remind the average French voter (urban service worker) of their grandfather: a simple, honest peasant scratching out a hard but honourable living while feeding the nation. When Chirac stands up for the CAP, it is easy to think he is defending the interests of guys garbed in rubber boots and a blue overall, but that is just plain wrong. The CAP is a programme designed to channel most of the money to elite farmers and wealthy landowners; past efforts to fix this have been rejected by France and Germany.[1]

    As Table 1 shows, most of France?s CAP spending goes to the big farms. The owners of these farms are, almost by definition, millionaires.[2]Here are some facts that should shock believers in the social market economy:

    ? The 10 largest French farms get, on average, ?400,000 each. Needless to say, these 10 farms are owned by wealthy landowners.

    ? Farmers in the smallest class size get ?500 each. Most of these farmers have to work off of the farm in order to make ends meet.

    ? One-quarter of all of France?s CAP payments goes to 5% of French farmers; these lucky 5% are the largest, richest farmers.

    ? Two-fifths of French farmers ? the small ones ? receive together only 5% of France?s CAP payments.”

  2. If we are spending that much, we should get some production out of it. That much money as a welfare measure in the EU’s hands is not sustainable.

  3. Why not just abolish the CAP? I doesn’t make sense in any way. It prohibits market access for poor developing countries, it hurts poor farmers in Europe and benefits the rich ones (such like prince Charles and the Queen of England), it doesn’t do the environment any good and it’s bad for tax payers. It gives loads of money into the hands of a sector that contributes at most 2% of GDP.

  4. The big bust up at the last European summit seems to have led to a period of quiet. Perhaps everyone recognises that no deal on the next Financial Perspective is possible under the British presidency.

    What is a little disappointing is that so far the Brits have come up with no sensible proposals for a compromise. That is, they can’t say what they actually want. What an acceptable deal would be.

    Whether they are just keeping powder dry , or whether they really have no practical ideas, I’m not too sure.

  5. im no expert on cap,
    but what about de-coupling? as in the changing of the cap grant to a fixed amount regardless of levels of production.

    at the momnent the i think its dairying farming which has been decoupled in ireland effective from this year on i think.

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