A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Decoupled aid, subterfuge for an unambitious European agriculture

November 18, 2013

According to a recent European Commission report on decoupled aid issued in the framework of the post-2013 CAP reform and the 2009 Health Check, the European Union has been decoupling a portion of its agricultural support since 2003. In the study, Brussels indicates that decoupled payments––or Single Payment Schemes (SPSs)––accounted for 94 percent of the EU direct subsidies in 2012, with fluctuations between 77 and 100 percent in various member states. In 2009, when the Health Check was issued, these decoupled payments accounted for 85 percent of direct subsidies, with variations between 60 to 100 percent in various member states.

In fact, decoupling subsidies have been rising since 2003 and increased in 2010, due to WTO compatibility requirements. The new reform for the 2014-2020 CAP does not noticeably change the situation: Each member state is authorized an optional aid coupling of up to 13 percent of first pillar subsidies to production. In France, €982 million must be allocated by crops, that is to say the maximum amount allowed. In addition, while Single Payment Schemes (SPSs) will be eliminated in late 2014, to be replaced by new Basic Payment Scheme (BPSs), they will remain uncorrelated to production, or event to markets.

Yet, these aid “recoupling” promises appear to be inadequate in view of the challenges to be met by European agriculture. In a context of increasing trade liberalization and price hyper-volatility, the job of farming needs another type of public involvement that is not based on decoupled subsidies. The single payment scheme uncoupled to production is a genuine peril, because by “manipulating” the level of these payments, one might doom the future of already very vulnerable farmers. So, each European Union country needs regulation and support mechanisms, so that farmers can make a living from their work.

The total or even partial decoupling of subsidies chosen by the European Community in 2003, and strengthened by the Commission’s 2009 Health Check, ultimately seems to negate the principles on which agricultural policies are based, that is to say the need to master production and price level fluctuations to safeguard long-lasting production and supply capabilities at fair and stable prices for consumers.

In the name of the competitiveness of European agriculture and to meet the goals of trade regulation without wasting taxpayer money, this aid must regain a counter-cyclical character––that is a flexible character according to price variations––that can never be decoupled from any given type of production.

Consequently, momagri advocates redistributing these direct subsidies toward genuine regulation tools because, as recently stated by Christian Pèes, President of Euralis and of COGECA, they act as morphine does, and are not a solution for the future of European agriculture, especially when other farm policies in nations that are aware of the highly strategic scope of their agricultural sectors––such as the United States and Brazil––are currently opting for flexible subsidies.

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Paris, 16 June 2019