Janet Dwyer (CCRI) took on the role of leading the discussion on 21 May for a lecture delivered by Prof Allan Buckwell (IEEP) to an audience in Paris, hosted by the Societe Francaise d’Economie Rural.
Allan’s title was ‘Public goods and the reform of the CAP’. In it, he reflected upon the origins of the concept of public goods within the long history of CAP reform and made an evaluation of its status currently, within the negotiations on the package which is due for agreement this summer.
The audience for the seminar included key French rural policy academics, policy officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, independent experts and representatives from farming and environmental NGOs.
Janet’s response to Allan’s talk highlighted the international dimension influencing the adoption of public goods as a concept (driven by both the World Trade agenda and the OECD), and drew attention to the way in which the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 Members has significantly altered the balance of attitudes and experience of the CAP’s two pillars, within the Union. In this context, the new Member States’ reluctance to accept the concept of ‘greening’ farm subsidies can be seen as a reflection of the huge ‘delivery challenge’ that their public administrators have faced, in implementing the numerous, detailed and sometimes complex provisions of the policy.
With both environmental and farming lobbies in the old Member States finding fault with the ‘one size fits all’ approach to greening being put forward by the Commission, the outlook for real progress on this front appears bleak, Professors Buckwell and Dwyer agreed.
The seminar was organised under the auspices of the ‘Bippop’ project, funded by the French government and led by researchers in Dijon and Paris. Janet has been acting as an external expert on the project’s steering committee since 2011, and CCRI has hosted 3 visiting research students working on the project.