Brian Gardner's Blog

Archives for Sustainable Dev.

Agricultural policy makers in the European Union tend to devote a lot of energy to worrying about the aging of the agricultural population. While this trend undoubtedly has important implications for the social structure and economic health of Europe’s remoter areas, in the longer term it may not be the problem as currently conceived. There… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

It is becoming ever clearer that there is no real intention on the part of the European Union’s agriculture ministers to agree any effective reforms of the EU agriculture policy. The Council of Agriculture ministers meeting at the beginning of this month indicated only too clearly that the final agreement for the 2014-20 MFF will… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

CAP reform or mere trimming?

The European Commission’s proposals for so-called ‘reform’ of the common agricultural policy are nothing of sort. They are basically a justification for continuing the present policy into the post-2013 budget phase largely unchanged, As farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos has had to admit, the policy is currently suffering a ‘crisis of legitimacy’. Though he may be… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Despite the existence of much information to the contrary, the myth of the poor European farmer persists. In most western countries of the European Union farms run as businesses make a good living – as good if not better than in other sectors of the economy. Real income data, rather than global averages, proves the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

For farmer’s organisations and a majority of European Union member state governments radical change of the common agricultural policy is unthinkable. Any moves towards a more rational payment of income subsidies, let alone their phasing out, would inevitably mean a tectonic shift in the balance of payments to particular groups of farmers and in the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Commission has now clearly given up on any further attempt to apply a rational, scientifically-based policy to the regulation of the development and commercial use of genetically modified crops. Its announcement that it is proposing to grant individual member states the right to decide for themselves whether to allow their farmers to grow… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The belief of the European Commission and a majority of EU member governments that income support is the main objective of the Union’s agriculture policy is a major obstacle to the constructive reform of the CAP. Despite the continuing claims of the farm unions to the contrary, modern European agriculture no longer needs taxpayer support.… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Once upon a time farm lobbies argued for a common agricultural policy as a guarantee of food security; now it is justified on the grounds of environmental projection. In neither case can a policy based on massive subvention from the taxpayer be justified. Europe’s food supply was never seriously threatened by lack of support for… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner