|Paris, March 15, 2016
Phil Hogan’s response to the agricultural crisis:
Short-lived measures that do not resolve structural problems!
Alors que la crise laitière affecte lourdement une partie des agriculteurs européens depuis le printemps 2015, Phil Hogan vient enfin d’annoncer qu’il va activer les mesures d’urgence prévues dans le cadre actuel de la PAC.
While the dairy crisis has been seriously impacting some European farmers since the spring of 2015, Phil Hogan just announced he would implement the emergency measures provided in the current framework of the CAP.
According to Article 222, the Commission has in fact the right––and thus the responsibility––to react in case of severe market imbalances by activating various levers, such as withdrawal measures or “temporary production planning”.
Regrettably, the Commissioner indicated yesterday that the supply control measures would only be provided on a voluntary basis, while Article 222 authorizes the Commission to make it available to all. In addition, no detail was given on the budget that can be earmarked to make the arrangement advantageous.
As a consequence, there is no doubt left on the effectiveness of the measures: It is very likely that many countries and businesses will act as “stowaways” by claiming all possible excuses to avoid contributing to the collective effort to stabilize markets.
As to the other measures such as raising the ceiling of government support, of the maximum intervention for milk powder and butter, or the creation of an observatory of the beef and pork markets, how can we be pleased when they should be within the scope of the normal operations of the European Commission as the regulator of the European agricultural sector?
The real issue is to initiate a reform of the CAP to confront agricultural crises and ensure minimum levels of stability to farmers, as it is done by our main American, Brazilian and Canadian competitors...
The current dairy crisis has just highlighted a new flaw of the CAP: While the European Commission commands too few levers to resolve the crisis, it puts off implementing them, and most importantly it misrepresents them by making them optional to limit their scope.
Phil Hogan has thus made a serious political mistake in taking over six months to propose activating a ruling adopted in December 2013. Logically, he should resign.
In the absence of a more proactive strategy, the crisis will require more time to be contained, and the whole European project will, once again, be challenged and weakened!
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