French President-Elect will Defend CAP Budget09 May 2012
FRANCE and EU - François Hollande's defeat of Nicholas Sarkozy in the French presidential run-off on Sunday (6 May) has sparked debates about how agriculture and the wider economy will be impacted.
Mr Hollande has already indicated that he will bring in a new policy of growth and prosperity to France and reject the previous administration’s stringent belt tightening. He said: “Austerity does not have to be inevitable.”
But what does it mean for agriculture and CAP reform? Mr Hollande told reporters during the campaign that direct payments should not be solely area based but should take employment into account so not to discriminate against specialist, labour-intensive producers that farmed only a few hectares.
He also called for a strengthening of agricultural market regulation and ‘regretted’ the phasing out of milk quotas.
He criticised France’s budget pact with Germany and the UK to freeze the increase of Member State contributions to the EU at no more than the rate of inflation. Instead he said the "highest possible CAP budget must be secured" which is no great surprise given France is Europe’s largest agricultural producer and the greatest recipient of funds from the CAP.
On a wider level he has vowed not to ratify the EU’s new fiscal discipline treaty unless new growth-promoting measures are added. The treaty was largely brokered between Mr Sarkozy and the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
There is speculation that Stéphane Le Foll – a socialist MEP, member of the Agriculture Committee and close confident of Mr Hollande – will serve an important role in the new administration. This could be significant given the socialists are in charge of writing the Parliament’s position on the future of CAP.
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