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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Europe’s Vast Farm Subsidies Face Challenges

The last time the European Union decided the future of its 50 billion euro agricultural aid program, in 2005, the deal was cut behind closed doors in a luxury suite at the five-star Conrad Brussels hotel.

The president of France, Jacques Chirac, and the chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, joined forces in secret to protect the program against cuts until 2013, outmaneuvering Tony Blair, the British prime minister, who was left fuming over the generous subsidies.

Now, 2013 is closer at hand and a new round of maneuvering has begun to reshape the richest system of agricultural handouts in the world.

At stake are a host of delicate — some would argue intractable — issues that have hardened to the point where resolution will be all the more difficult: Who should receive the subsidies? What is their purpose? Is there a way to tie payments to a crackdown on fraud and corruption? Can they be more directed at small farmers instead of multinational conglomerates?

Read more here.

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 12:01 AM

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