Friday, September 14, 2007

The Quality of Life report and the Common Agricultural Policy

Part of me wonders whether the media reaction to the Conservative Quality of Life report has missed the most globally important part of its thinking. The report breaks with traditional Conservative opposition to the Common Agricultural Policy. It recommends a refined green-CAP.

This is colossally important. The CAP impoverishes Third World farmers, increases domestic food prices and, perhaps most importantly, constitutes a massive stumbling block for every WTO round. The opportunity cost to the CAP, which prevents us completing big deals for free trade, to the developing world is truly alarming. The Australian Productivity Commission found the total benefits from the Doha round at $260 billion, a lot of that takes the form of a better standard of living for some of the poorest people on Earth. When these agreements are stalled, limited or prevented entirely by the CAP millions suffer.

The British position on the CAP matters. While we haven't gotten very far in putting an end to it, largely because we haven't been able to swing the Germans yet - we can, Britain can make a big difference to the policy's chances of survival and scale if it does. To undermine Britain's position against the CAP on pretty tenuous green grounds (there have to be less costly ways of protecting hedgerows) would be deeply tragic. If a Conservative government were to give up on challenging for the CAP's abolition they would deserve real historical infamy.

9 comments:

Dr. James P. Holdren said...

...This is colossally important. The CAP impoverishes Third World farmers, increases domestic food prices and, perhaps most importantly, constitutes a massive stumbling block for every WTO round...

Precisely, Mr.S.

Anonymous said...

The Common Agricultural Policy should be dismantled, it only serves to enhance the wealth of landowners, it makes food more expensive for European tax payers, by restricting production and putting up barriers to food importation, New Zealand has no subsidies etc. and their food is excellent

Anonymous said...

The CAP was created by an overly infulential farming / landowning lobby group, they are finacially very well resourced and have positioned themselves in politics to protect their interests

Anonymous said...

The farming lobby group are putting their interests ahead of the interests of the rest of the European tax payers, this is especially evident in the World Trade Organistaion talks with regard to DOHA

Anonymous said...

Farmers and landowners in New Zealand receive no grants or subsidies to look after the land and environment, we the European tax payers are conditioned into thinking that we have to give subsidies and grants through the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme in order prevent environmental destruction and pollution by farmers, we are held to ransom once more

Anonymous said...

The EU should give every citizen a say in the CAP, most people are not aware of it, and what little they do know is spin, "food security" aka protectionism

Anonymous said...

a must read,

WHO OWNS THE WORLD
The hidden facts behind landownership

by
Kevin Cahill

get it out of the library, etc

excellent on the CAP

Anonymous said...

www.farmsubsidy.org

an excellent and thought provoking website
a must for every European tax payer, and person you believes in transparency and democracy

Anonymous said...

www.commonagpolicy.blogspot.com

an excellent website
an excellent platform to generate a wider debate about the CAP, so as to inform every European tax payer on where their taxes are going

blog by
Wyn Grant