Wednesday, 28 July 2010

It must be deliberate

To clarify the government's position and the possibilities of any reform of the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies, Lord Pearson asked the following question:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 12 July (WA 97), which European Union countries support their position on reform of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries policies; and what voting power those countries have in the Council of Ministers.
There is a reason for that careful phrasing: as decisions are taken on qualified majority voting (QMV), a highly complicated system, which countries and how many votes they have in the Council of Ministers is of vital importance. Can reforms be carried through? Will there be enough votes for it?

HMG decided to ignore the question and produce irrelevant and well-meaning waffle:
There is broad agreement across the EU about the case for reform of the common fisheries policy, including the need to decentralise and simplify the current complex regulations. Few, if any, member states support the status quo, though views vary as to the changes needed. A draft legislative proposal will be published in 2011 and the UK is fully engaged in dialogue with other member states, the European Commission, industry, environmental NGOs and scientists to establish common ground for reform.

The UK's aim of a competitive, thriving and sustainable agriculture sector is supported by all member states. The Government are starting to consider their detailed position on reform of the common agricultural policy beyond 2013. Individual member states' positions will become clear in their responses to the European Commission's communication on CAP reform later this year.
This tells us nothing about the countries and their voting power should any question of reform arise.

As for there being broad agreement in favour of reform either of the CFP or the CAP, one cannot help wondering why, if that is so, there has been such a singular lack of it in the last three and a half decades.

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