Contribution to the Health Check and the Cap after 2013 Forum (part 3)

Contribution to the Health Check and the Cap after 2013 Forum (part 3)
  Versione Italiana

Here are some reflections about Sotte’s and Chiodo’s text. I simply agree with most of it. This approval is probably because of the fact that Sotte (I do not know Chiodo) is an agricultural economist, and that we therefore share the same point of departure, as we both base our analyses and interpretations of among others the CAP on basic economic theory.
In other words, I think this document is a good description of both the ongoing process and its outcome in the form of the so-called Health Check. I completely agree with Sotte that the ‘MTR’ became a much more important outcome than expected (However one should be conscious of the fact that within the commission there have long been people working to change the CAP in the direction of the MTR. At least since the work with the MacSharry reform certain people have strived to get rid of the increasingly complex market regulation and production support and I think it could have been good if Sotte would have shown this link to the 1992 – reform.)
If I should discuss some more personal reflections on the document then I could mention that I evaluate the text about the rural development – and environment program (at the end of page 1 but mostly on page 2) as a well-balanced text and I believe that Sotte puts forward an important point when he identifies the large difference in how fast the different member countries have managed to put new initiatives in place and use the funds in this field.
Furthermore I understand Sottes text as a clear indirect argument for more evaluations of the rural development and environment program, and I interpret the text as an argument for what within for example medical science is called ‘evidence-based treatment’ (e.g. that the measures taken should be based on tried treatments that have shown to be effective, rather than on assumptions and political believes about which measures give the desired effect.)
I agree with Sotte about the analysis of the outcome within the Health Check, in relation to the earlier discussions, the MTR and what Fischer Boel has said. I find the reductions in the payments for those who receive much support, principally doubtful, because the aim and design of the support were not based on economical bearstrength. Furthermore, it is often possible for the concerned companies to adjust size and conditions so that the reduction does not become as noticeable (e.g. by splitting up units and in other ways adjusting the company (or the farm or the land). Probably such adjustments will not turn out to be positive for the company, nor for its competitive power, as this means that one bases his strategy on political rather than business motives. Sotte does not mention this, but I assume he sees exactly the same kind of problems in this issue.
Further I believe that Sotte has a more pessimistic evaluation about the future of the EU, than I have, when he discusses the reaction on the so-called financial crisis, under ”The characteristics of a Sustainable CAP post 2013”. My interpretation is that in the discussion in Sweden the possibility that the EU will disintegrate completely, has not come up.
Sottes point about the isolation of agriculture is an important one, in that it is in many ways surely an advantage when the stakeholders in agriculture would participate in a broad debate about which role the agricultural sector will have in the future society, instead of defending central parts of the current CAP.
When it comes to farm support I completely agree with Sotte in that it should be abolished, that it mainly capitalizes in market prices, that it currently lacks legitimacy and that the agricultural sector on the long term does not gain from continuing the support.
The agricultural lobby would therefore gain from concentrating more clearly on formulating a vision for an EU agriculture without farm support. Otherwise the risk is that, exactly as Sotte mentions, the CAP budget will decrease enormously in budget negotiations, without alternative measures and actions having been investigated that would help agriculture to adjust so that it becomes more apt for the future than it is today.