Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blair rejects rebate freeze plan

Really don't know what to make of this. Britain's rebate may not make a lot of sense but neither would the position, were it to be given up. As nosemonkey points out, this would result in Britain paying around 15 times as much as France.

On the other hand, under the present arrangement, Britain's rebate doesn't really make a lot of sense; we originally lost out because of our relatively small agricultural sector. Blair is right to raise the issue of the CAP (although a bit late in the day, I reckon) but again, as pointed out here, there ain't the least chance of Chirac taking the rational, self-sacrificing role.

It's a pity because the CAP - which consumes nearly half of the EU's budget - is a piece of nonsense that brings the whole EU into disrepute. It's not that there isn't a case for protecting agriculture - countries have a traditional and rational interest in ensuring that they are not completely dependent on agricultural imports - but I'm really not sure why the EU's role should be so large in it, given that this sort of protectionism is a national imperative.

As it stands, the CAP must surely be one of the most harmful policies of the EU vis-a-vis Africa, where producers of primary products struggle to gain access to European markets? It's at least one instance where freer trade really would be fairer trade...

Caption, anyone?

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