Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Deal ‘will slash EU farm subsidies’

Potentially promising stuff for those of us who dislike the CAP – though worrying news for Europe’s beleaguered farmers:

Europe’s farmers will be “major losers” from a new world trade deal, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has admitted.

He told the start of marathon make-or-break talks in Geneva that Brussels was offering “groundbreaking” agricultural reforms which would see subsidies to the European farming sector slashed by £80 billion and average agriculture trade tariffs cut by more than half.

In return, he warned negotiators representing more than 150 countries, the EU wanted to see real concessions from the rest of the world towards opening up global trade to the benefit of everyone.

This is the British vision of what the EU should be all about personified – and something that France has always fought against tooth and nail.

So, is it a coincidence that Mandelson is putting this forward a few weeks into the French EU presidency – a French EU presidency that kicked off with President Sarkozy publicly attacking Mandelson?

Meh – who cares about petty feuds? The real question is will President Bush step up to the challenge and revive his offer from 2005 to slash US farm subsides? If he does, he could just end his presidency with helping seal the biggest contribution to the global fight against poverty and starvation the world has ever seen. Hell… Only Nixon could go to China, right?

2 Comments

  1. My feeling tells me that Mendelson only puts forward this proposal because he knows the other side will not make any concessions big enough for the EU to agree so that afterwards the Commission can tell: “We have tried everything…”

  2. Possible – but Mandelson’s offering a cut of just 54% this time around, compared to the previous offer of 30-40%. In the last round of discussions, the US offered a 60% cut. There is a chance that non-EU countries may take this up. I’d say the major obstructions, as with most attempts at serious CAP reform, are likely to come from France on this one…