Public Affairs Networking
Schadenfreude – The murky world of the EU Common Agricultural Policy

In the real world outside the European quarter in Brussels the reversion to the unintended classical trialogue between the commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers leaves little time for farmers to plan for the next planting season – writes our secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude

Most lay commentators on the European Union steer clear of the Common Agricultural Policy because it is hard to keep up to date and the mechanisms are arcane. Schadenfreude is one of this persuasion, ordinarily.

Even the experts are now adrift over the tangled subject of environmental protection. Briefly, the member states decided that the European Commission should have powers to make ‘delegated acts’. Two years later, it came up with them. Member states would decide to designate ‘ecological focus areas’. Some 30 per cent of all payments to farmers would be for production in EFAs. In an EFA, there would be no use of fertilisers and pesticides.

This was supposed to be cut and dried, which is why it was called ‘delegated’ – in other words, decided by the commission. But the farm lobbies, which have huge influence with governments, do not like it. Farm production relies heavily on fertilisers and pesticides.

So what set out to be a streamlined process conducted by the commission, unusually using delegated powers and only informal consultation with interest groups, has become the familiar ‘engrenage’ – or gearing, the Brussels word for the interaction of the commission making proposals and the governments trying to gain national advantage. So much for Eurosceptic condemnation of the all-powerful commission.

In the real world outside the European quarter in Brussels the reversion to the unintended classical trialogue between the commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers leaves little time for farmers to plan for the next planting season and how to sustain their income source.

Comments
No comments yet
Submit a comment

Policy and networking for the digital age
Policy Review TV Neil Stewart Associates
© Policy Review | Policy and networking for the digital age 2017 | Log-in | Proudly powered by WordPress