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November 16, 2005



I think maybe that you should put Blair’s (belated) attempts to resolve the EU budget issue – and particularly the CAP farming policy – in the context of the budget rebate that Thatcher negotiated for the UK. Every other country in the union wants Britain to drop this rebate...billions every year...but no British prime minister could sign away that rebate. It would be suicide for them if they did. So Blair is turning defense into attack here.

And France is not the only obstacle to reforming CAP. Countries like Poland – 25% of its population and 2 million farms relying on or trying to get subsidies – is going to make sure that its farming windfall increases, not decreases. So the ‘New Europe’ eastern countries are going to try and hang on it too. Blair wants the spending (60% of the EU cost) to be on R&D, Poland just wants the sausage!

But I absolutely agree that CAP is a monstrosity and has to go. But don’t be holding your breath…

Dan tdaxp

"France is the obstacle to EU farm reform, largely due to its socialist policies of supporting farmers. But now French domestic opinion is fearful of their large immigrant population that is largely Muslim. France may be more open to shifting their veto over EU trade policy to bring about third-world reform that contributes to the sense of Muslims not being respected in Europe. "

Who would have guessed we would be rooting for France to capitulate to Muslim thugs?

Such is politics! :)

While beatroot does have a point about the Briths-EU chargeback, he is too dismissive of French intransigence on CAP reform. Even the French know chnage has to come, otherwise they will have to pay for full subsidies for Polish farmers, but the French farmers have been institutionalized by EU support for generations.

Poland is not so wed to EU farm subsidies. The Polish government would prefer a cash payment to spend on its internal needs, not the direct Brussels-to-farmers subsidies France prefers. From an economic and security standpoint, this "Polish" option is much better than the "French" status quo.


The political facts of life here are that if you don't get rural support you will not get into government. And if you loose rural support then you won't be in government long.

Today Jaroslaw Petrus - EU-Poland guy - said that Poland is counting on EU subsidies to help modernise the farms. Around fifty percent of them consume what they grow and sell nothing...if they don't modernise they are finished. So they are expecting government, and the EU, to bail them out. And support for this government is based in the rurual east.

Increasing the amount of cash coming in to Polish farmers is a key policy of this government and its rather odd supporters in parliament - not least from Andzej Lepper, leader of the farmer's union, Samoobrona (Self defense). He can make or break this government in parlament, and he i going to make sure they keep feeding the Polish cash cows.

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