Boring! Yes but I’m looking at some history to assess the competence of the EU along with my earlier “Back to the Fiscal Future” post. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was possibly the biggest tactical mistake in Europe since, well since Harold let Willy land his troops at Hastings before attacking him. An unusually rhetorical simile for this blog I know, apologies. The plan was to rig the market so EU producers were protected, no need for a peasant uprising, phew. Prices were set and non EU imports were tariffed and EU exporters were given subsidies so they got the same price as if they sold within the EU allowing them to undercut in foreign markets. Would you like a butter mountain on your toast? Not efficient, certainly not environmentally friendly and not very third-world friendly either. Rude.
CAP only applied to some crops so, if you could, you would switch production to a crop that might be less than optimal for your land requiring more chemicals and fewer hedges. This level of incompetent meddling you might expect from a communist dictator. Now, it is not as bad as that these days and they are reforming CAP but in short it failed certainly for us because farming is in decline.
Even today the CAP is around 40% of the EU budget so you might say that the biggest thing they do has been a bit of a shambles.
My criticism of the EU’s agri-policy is no comfort if you are a farmer who exports to an EU country and your business depends on that; you need to look at the worst case scenario and find out what the EU import tariff might be. Like you need me to say that!
I notice that the NFU are campaigning to Remain which seems a bit queer to me until someone said they mostly represent large corporate farms. I need to look into this too.
Can I wave a flag for the WTO again? We don’t need to sell our souls trying to negotiate the exact deal we have now.