There should be no major agricultural reforms under the Swedish Presidency of the European Union, which began on July 1st. Contrary to the French and Czech presidencies, which respectively made the future of the common agricultural policy and direct aid priority issues, Sweden intends to advance Europe on related issues that it holds dear: climate change, budgetary strictness, and social equity through employment.
If the last component has no bearing on agriculture, the first two, on the other hand, are indirectly linked. Climate change, which promises to be a major theme of the presidency, as the end of the Copenhagen conference in December has led us to believe, should dominate the agenda of the traditional informal meeting of the Agriculture Ministers in September. It is undoubtedly the occasion for Sweden to underscore its views on a CAP that is centered on the second pillar, rural development that respects the environment.
This is all the more so, given that Sweden has always been critical of the share of the European budget that is allocated the CAP. A supporter of the free market, it might take advantage of its presidency to pass the message, then reduce agricultural expenditure allocated as part of the CAP, even if challenging the CAP Health Check is not on its agenda. One message that will undoubtedly be pushed is the need for budgetary strictness during the crisis.
It remains to be known, what types of changes indirect subjects, particularly the post-Kyoto negotiations previewed for December 2009 in Copenhagen, will bring about for the agricultural sector…