Friday, February 26, 2010

Casse-toi, Monsieur le Président

Farmers have taken it amiss that Sarko will come only to the closing ceremony of the Salon de l'Agriculture rather than to the opening, as is customary. Maybe the president is afraid of another incident such as the notorious confrontation with a detractor a couple of years ago. But agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire is the man who knows this dossier. Good comment here:

Some officials believe that, just as the global financial crisis convinced Europeans to join the French drive against unbridled capitalism, the agricultural crisis will favour France's call for more regulation.
Bruno Le Maire, the French agriculture minister, this week sketched out what that might look like, in proposals to the Commission that try to address the price volatility that has crippled farmers. They include measures for more rapid intervention across sectors when prices collapse; public-private insurance; stronger producer groups to balance retailers' pricing power; tougher rules to curb commodities speculation; and finally an information gathering body to sound the alarm when supply and demand fall out of sync.
The proposals have quite sensibly shifted the early debate on CAP away from the controversial issue of funding to the question of what its priorities should be.
Yet if the partners agree to regulation à la française , they will have agreed implicitly to a big budget, as the measures would demand significant funding to be effective.

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