Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Stark contrasts

From very informative EU news site Euractiv:

France and Germany have apparently set up a 'working group' charged with blocking reform of outlining the future of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013.

And there's little doubt over what the objective is. Following a meeting with President José Manuel Barroso last week, French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire, bluntly said that "more regulation" will be France's guiding line in negotiations on the CAP.

The negotiations on the EU budget will kick off in November and, according to Euractiv, the Commission is due to table its first ideas on 'CAP reform' in September 2010. The franco-german 'working group' will now tour EU capitals, starting in London before going to Madrid, Rome, Bucharest and Warsaw, in a bid to convince EU partners of the undisputed advantages of the CAP (which, for example, include artificially high food prices, more global poverty, and allowing for non-farmers to be paid not to farm).

But quite apart from the issue itself, note the contrast between the franco-german approach to CAP negotiations and the UK Government's approach to the ongoing talks on more EU supervision and regulation of the financial markets - proposals with huge implications for the UK economy. We doubt that there were 'working groups' from the Treasury touring Europe to win support for the UK's position as these proposals were concieved (indeed many of them are still in the process of being worked out). It's widely acknowledged that Whitehall has struggled in putting its mark on the negotiations - despite the UK being home to by far the most important financial centre in Europe.

In fact, even the House of Lords EU select committee criticised the UK Government for being "behind the ball game" in the negotiations.

Perhaps the UK could learn a thing or two from the French here - at least when it comes to influencing the EU agenda at a much earlier stage, particularly in policy areas that are so significant for the UK economy.

2 comments:

Panta Rei said...

RE
The negotiations on the EU budget...

not just the CAP is a mess
(farmers are businessmen, so why not treat them as such: assist in start-ups, and then let them get on with it on the marketplace)

In a different Europe,
Germany does not pay 25 billion euros to the EU and claw back (say) 7 billion for East German development and 3 billion for cross- border initiatives.

In a different Europe,
Germany pays in 18 billion and looks after its own East German and other internal affairs.

Greece does not pay in 3 billion to get 8 billion back.
Greece simply gets 5 billion.


In other words, inefficient pay-in-and-claw-back finishes.


Main EU problem though is the Commission:
The Commission is an enduring hangover from the days of a small, limited, European Coal and Steel Community, a common market for coal and steel set up between 6 countries, when the Commission was called the High Authority.

The EU would function perferctly well with just a Parliament - Council of Ministers axis.

http://ceolas.net/#eu1x

La Quatrième: The Fourth Transformation of Europe
Introduction
A Smaller and More Effective Parliament
The End of the European Commission
The New Axis, European Parliament-Council of Ministers | European Senate
The Head of the European Government
European Budget Efficiency and Local Democracy

John McClane said...

note the contrast between the franco-german approach to CAP negotiations and the UK Government's approach to the ongoing talks on more EU supervision and regulation of the financial markets

Ah, but that would require Miliband to plan proactively. An unlikely event.