Friday, June 10, 2005

Crap CAP (again)

The comments section of my latest post at The Sharpener (on the British rebate) have been interesting, and the Common Agricultural Policy has once again reared its ugly head. It's rubbish, and on that everyone - except, perhaps, the French - can agree.

Now Robin Grant has spotted a ray of hope. Could Britain's rather unusually strong bargaining position actually be put to good use this time? It's wishful thinking that the CAP could be significantly reformed or abolished, certainly - even that it might be altered to prevent various less developed nations being shat all over by the thing.

But sorting out the CAP is arguably even more important than sorting out the constitution. It's the EU's single biggest problem and single biggest error. Before we go charging off trying to set everything in stone it is vital that it is addressed.

Hell, judging by EU-Serf's comment at The Sharpener - scrap the CAP and lose the rebate and even a eurosceptic like him would be happy (well, less unhappy at least) - this could be precisely the issue the UK needs to tackle to get over our worries about the whole EU. And it would have the added benefit of pissing off France - which, even for a relative Francophile like me, always warms the cockles of the English heart...

12 Comments:

Blogger David Weman said...

it has alredy been reformed, and i'm sure it will eventually be abolished.

6/10/2005 05:24:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Fingers crossed, eh?

6/10/2005 05:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a non-French and non-British perspective, both the CAP and the rebate should be killed, and we should all be dancing on their graves.

Having said that, there is one bit of difficulty. The newer member states have to a larger degree an old-school agriculture. I'm not sure how overly thrilled they would be if we dismantled it the moment that they actually get an advantage of it. I suspect they would find it unfair that France has been feeding off it for decades and now when they join, it suddenly gets scrapped.

Furthermore, I'm not sure Chirac is in the position to remove it. He has just lost an important referendum and is atm very weak. I think that if he was to agree to whack the CAP he would be dragged off and guillotined by the same French farmers who said "Non" recently.

As for the British rebate, Blair is in a difficult position as well. By agreeing to kill it off, he would provide some nice ammunition to the already strong anti-EU camp.

-Lucas

6/10/2005 06:05:00 pm  
Blogger sean said...

No offence, NM, but your GDP claims in that CAP piece were utterly confused and strikingly illiterate. Enough to make one doubt everything else you say.
For the record, the UK has by some reckonings the fourth largest total GDP in the world, by some other reckonings (by purchasing power parity) the fifth or even sixth. Most economists, however, would say we are fourth - though about to be taken over by China.
Then you claim that France has the twentieth largest GDP in the world. What the fuck? Whether it's total GDP or GDP per capital France is just behind the UK. Do you mean its twentieth in terms of GDP per capita? If so why are you comparing it with Britain's seventh, when Britain is probably about fifteenth or eighteenth in the world, in terms of GDP per capita Or are you talking about total GDP?
Actually, I think you haven't actually grasped the difference between total GDP and GDP per head? Have you? It's the only explanation for your egregious waffle.
Sorry to be harsh. I like your blog. But this kind of elementary error is just unacceptable in someone who claims to know what he's talking about. Go away and do a quick GCSE in Economics!

6/11/2005 02:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

April 2005 Nominal GDP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29

— World 44,168,157
— European Union 13,926,873
1 United States 12,438,873
2 Japan 4,799,061
3 Germany 2,906,658
4 United Kingdom 2,295,039
5 France 2,216,273
6 People's Republic of China (Mainland) 1,843,117

And per capita:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita

— World 6,851
1 Luxembourg 77,595
2 Norway 61,852
3 Switzerland 52,879
4 Iceland 52,063
5 Republic of Ireland 50,303
6 Denmark 49,182
7 Sweden 42,392
8 United States 41,917
9 Qatar 39,607
10 Austria 39,292
11 Finland 39,098
12 Netherlands 38,320
13 United Kingdom 38,098
14 Belgium 37,730
15 Japan 37,566
16 France 35,727
17 Germany 35,075
18 Canada 34,028

For 2002 estimates:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/eco_gdp

If the EU contributions should be seen as a form of proportional tax, the total GDP is the reference you want to look at. Given that the UK GDP is only slightly below Germany's, you should be paying slightly less than Germany.

--Lucas

6/11/2005 05:48:00 pm  
Blogger Blimpish said...

Aren't gross budgetary payments (i.e., those outside VAT contributions) linked to GNP rather than GDP? Sorry, been a long time since I read up on the subject. The issue here anyway is not about how much we pay, but how much we get back - especially vis-a-vis France, because the CAP is highly beneficial to them.

6/11/2005 05:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blimpish -
Net contributions (graph)

and

National contributions (graph)

As you can see, regardless of what France gets, you should be paying about the same amount as Germany. Even with the rebate scrapped, you would fall short of that.

Don't take me wrong, I think that the CAP should be seriously reformed or killed off. The money I think would be more useful to give to the new member states rather than to France. (There should also be a general discussion if any form of European agriculture is really worth the money).

Still, the rebate is unfair any way you look at it and should go as well.

-Lucas

6/11/2005 06:12:00 pm  
Blogger AlanK said...

Nosemonkey

Problem was that most of those that voted NON, was partly because of perceived threat to French welfare system and CAP is part of that. If we dont want to lose Rebate, why would France want to lose CAP by reform, could be a problem area

6/12/2005 02:36:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

GDP-wise, to be honest I didn't consider the precise rankings that vital - the only thing that mattered as far as the point I was trying to make was concerned was that Britain is richer than France and most of the rest of the EU countries. GDP was the first recognised point of wealth comparison that came to mind, so the initial check was via the individual countries' entries on Wikipedia. It is entirely possible that I misread the things. The point that Britain is better off than most other EU countries still stands - but next time I use GDP never fear, I will ensure I take better care to get the right figures.

6/13/2005 09:42:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Alan - it's certainly going to be a major problem. Should be fun, this week...

6/13/2005 09:56:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Th free market in the britsh empire for agriculture killed 4 million in Inida in the 1940s, 1 million in the potato fmaine and millions in India in the 1910's.
If we get rid of farm subsidies the EU will start importing a food. At present the EU, the USA, and Jpan can use their overproduction to give food aid to Africa where will the food aid come from now. Also what happens when climate change makes farming in Africa and south east Asia and south amercia and Austrlia even more difficult. We need more food security. Where does Geldof and euro skeptics think food for the food aid comes from.

7/12/2005 01:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to have been a long time since anyone commented here. As we now have another row brewing over EU budgets and the CAP, maybe it's opportune to starting arguing again.
The rights and wrongs don't matter - only who has might on their side.
It maybe interesting for you all to realise that the UK is the the fifth largest beneficiary from the CAP, http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10003108.shtml
Furthermore, 80% of this goes to the 20% largest farms,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4728129-103674,00.html . So Prince Charles and the other lorldy landowners (amongst others) get a nice slice of the CAP pie.
In addition, the latest EU directive on water quality has prompted water companies to buy farms. They argue it is cheaper to stop farms using pesticides in large volumes than having to clear it up later from their water.
This is very environmentally friendly. The CAP reforms already agreed shift spending from production to environmental awareness. Want to bet the water companies have their eyes on a piece of CAP?

12/10/2005 06:58:00 pm  

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