Thursday, 11 December 2014

French four point beef support programme

I might be a bit cynical here but is it possible that the EU and other countries are using Russian food sanctions as an excuse to push support proposals in through the back door?

I'm not saying that there isn't a genuine effect as a result of the Russian issue but since when did Russia become such a significant trading partner that when it closes its doors the whole of the EU ag sector catches a cold?

The latest country to peg a support programme to the Russian issue is France who have put forward a four point programme to tackle problems arising in the beef sector.

While the French government say the programme is as a result of the Russian embargo they freely admit it has been amplified because of the prospect of the end of milk quotas in March next year.

Surely they have that the wrong way around, the real reason for a support programme is because of the end of milk quotas, the Russian problem just makes for a more palatable narrative.

The four priorities as set out by the French ag minister are in reality only two and come as no great surprise.

Financial aid to farmers from the French government and the EU (will the French government aid programme be supported by EU funds?) and developing export and domestic markets (which presumably require EU funds to administer).

I'm not having a specific go at the French here (I'm overwintering in rural France at the moment so I don’t want to upset French farmers), every EU member state is banging the drum for support and I suppose it’s a case of he who shouts loudest gets heard but may be we should be a bit clearer on the rationale behind the situation.