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

The CAP is at the end of its rope1

December 14, 2015

The EU Conference on Agricultural Outlook by 2025 was held on December 1 and 2, 2015. The event provided an opportunity to address the issues concerning the CAP, the production prospects for key European commodities, the challenges linked to food security, to the environment and climate, as well as the tensions affecting the food supply chain and free trade agreements. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack attended the session.

The meeting was also an occasion to take stock of Phil Hogan’s activities since he took office over a year ago, and assess the progress made as well as the flaws in the actions undertaken. It could even be said that the conference––the last major one before the end of the year––validated the Commission’s views and its vision for European agriculture in the coming years.

Phil Hogan’s opening speech was barely different from the one he gave last year, and still focused on the determination for a CAP centered on jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, therefore reiterating the position he had outlined in his October 2014 hearing. As a result, Phil Hogan’s objectives still include:
  • The further simplification and greening of the CAP in 2016
  • International trade, which he qualifies as the CAP’s “third pillar”. As such, the Commission works to promote agricultural exports outside of the EU and towards free trade agreements. Tom Wilsack and Phil Hogan thus discussed the provisions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) regarding agriculture. While the European Commissioner remains confident that concluding the negotiations is doable in 2016, Tom Vilsack recognized that the TTIP agricultural issue includes “very serious challenges” and taking tough decisions.
According to Phil Hogan, the CAP issued from the latest reform is the “Swiss army knife” mentioned by Barack Obama when he signed the Farm Bill. Yet, contrary to the American framework law, the Phil Hogan’s CAP is based on a vision that is biased and disconnected from European agricultural reality. As proof:
  • In his opening speech, the Commissioner fails to make any mention of the agricultural crisis that has significantly weakened European livestock farming. The European Commission feels that the outlook for Europe’s major activities is generally good, although it recognizes that milk prices might not rise before 2020.
  • Contrary to major agricultural powers, the EU continues to focus on decoupled direct subsidies, which account for the largest share of the CAP budget. The European Commission justifies its choice by “the transition from a support to product system to a support to producer system.” This mainly reflects the European Commission’s liberal course towards further decoupling and the least possible intervention.
  • The safety nets currently proposed by Brussels are in fact inadequate in terms of regulation, although they include the notion of market volatility.
  • Lastly, while the European Commission believes that low-priced exports will be the key driver of agriculture in the next ten years, it downgrades the goal of safeguarding farmers’ gainful incomes in favor of competitiveness alone.
As a result, the CAP is no longer acting as regulator, and this has been the case for a long time. It must be reassessed before 2020, and take advantage of the 2007 revision of the multi-annual European financial framework to give it a new strategic course.

1 Expression used by Philippe Mangin, President of Coop de France
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Paris, 17 June 2019