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“We have therefore witnessed a gradual deterioration of the fundamentals of the CAP without seeing a coherent new framework emerge” Hervé Gaymard

Agriculture Strategies organized a press conference on June 13, 2018 in the presence of the members of its Strategic Orientation Council.
Find below the intervention of Hervé Gaymard, former Minister of Agriculture and President of the Regional Council of Savoie (LR) 

« I have nothing to add to what Jacques Carles, Olivier Allain and Fréderic Descrozaille said. I will try not to be redundant because I completely share what has just been said. At a time when the Commission presents new budgetary perspectives and proposals for the next CAP, it should first be recalled, as my predecessors have done, that the agricultural question is fundamentally political and that it is only incidentally budgetary. I think it’s something that must always be hammered in.

It should first be recalled, as my predecessors have done, that the agricultural question is fundamentally political and that it is only incidentally budgetary

The agricultural issue is political at least in three respects: first, because it overdetermines the food issue, both in quantity and quality, and the links to public health and nutrition policies should be further worked out. Then, of course, there are the challenges of the economic activity of our territories and the protection of our natural resources. Finally, the agricultural question is fundamentally geopolitical.

And from this point of view, I will make two remarks. Everyone remembers what happened in 2007-2008 with the food crisis and its aftershocks in 2010 – the Arab Spring – and in 2012 drought in the United States. There was a major international mobilization on these topics, a G20 dedicated to the issue in 2011 where we talked about the constitution of regulatory stocks, improve transparency, limit speculation on the financial markets of raw material , etc. .. And, it is clear, that once the storm passed, everyone has forgotten. This situation that we knew not so long ago, we can quite see it reproduce.

This means that if we detract from the CAP we will endanger the integrated European trade policy.

Secondly, I will come back to an earlier historical period. When we talk about the CAP, we must not forget that the CAP is at the heart of European construction with the Treaty of Rome in 1957 – in fact we have a sequence from 1955 to 1965 – and that the CAP has made it possible to overcome failure of the EDC – the European Defense Community – in 1954. The negotiations were extremely close both at the end of the Fourth Republic and at the beginning of the new Fifth Republic, it was a question of rendering indissoluble a commercial policy at the European level and at the same time, to use an expression that is now flora, an ambitious common agricultural policy. It must indeed be remembered that both are going at the same time! This means that if we detract from the CAP we will endanger the integrated European trade policy.

We have therefore witnessed a gradual deterioration of the fundamentals of the CAP without seeing a coherent new framework emerge.

Without being too long to try to evaluate the situation in which we are, first of all, as you have said, we are at the end of a paradigm. I will not go back over all the stages of European agricultural construction, but what is true is that from the Uruguay round in 1986 when agriculture becomes a subject of multilateral trade negotiations – what it was not previously in the GATT – there has been a systematic critique of the original CAP, but the original schema has still not been replaced by a coherent alternative scheme. We have therefore witnessed a gradual deterioration of the fundamentals of the CAP without seeing a coherent new framework emerge.

Of course, the original CAP was not perfect, it met the expectations for which it was instituted in the 1960s and 1970s, and we saw very well with the emergence of surplus dairy that the original model became obsolete. It had to be reformed globally, it is indisputable, but in the end it was not done because the current CAP is a transition CAP.

And for good reason, we have witnessed a kind of intellectual mode, a mode that had been launched by Tangermann, an economist from the OECD, it was the decoupling as the solution to everything! This concept of subsidy decoupling flared intellectually in the late 1990s and early 2000s for two reasons: the first was that it seemed a good way to dump surplus production and expensive stocks. to the European Union; the second was that it should allow Europe to be in a strong position in the multilateral trade negotiations where decoupling seemed to be the magic solution for reaching an agreement in the Doha Round. The orange box being the devil, the blue the purgatory and the green the paradise.

Today what do we see? Firstly, decoupling is a failure and, secondly, there is no longer a Doha Round!

We lived, I lived as a negotiator, both at the EU level and at the WTO in ministerial meetings, this kind of fashion against which it was very difficult to resist, and today what do we see? Firstly, decoupling is a failure and, secondly, there is no longer a Doha Round!

I remember that we were still indicted, including by the then European Commissioner for Multilateral Trade Negotiations who told us – in good French – that it was the Blame Game: Europe had to mystical version of the European Union, tends the other plays constantly to prove that she was doing everything before everyone else. We could go to Canada and see for example that their dairy policy did not correspond at all to the imperatives of the WTO, it was enough for Canadians to put forward some liberal reforms, often very marginal, to give them a good conscience and they continued – and rightly so – their market management policies, which we did well – in Europe – to get rid of.


We must insist on this point, I have lived it, there is a kind of naivety, of irenism which consists in thinking that it was necessary to constantly give the example. I think that now we have to be extremely realistic, we are at the end of this sequence, and it should not be that when we can rebuild an ambitious European agricultural policy that, on the contrary, we abandon everything! But that’s what I read in Phil Hogan’s proposals.

While the paradigm that has dominated for 25 years is challenged on all sides, I think it’s exactly the opposite that must be done, I think we must take a large agricultural project food, nutrition, climate , European environmental.

Without being controversial, we see in these proposals that we give up having a CAP on the pretext that we have to go fast and that there is a timetable to respect. Here too, we must refuse the tyranny of the calendar, just because some of the Commission say that we must hurry to complete the negotiations before the European elections that we must do everything we can, including including anything, including a minimum! While the paradigm that has dominated for 25 years is challenged on all sides, I think it’s exactly the opposite that must be done, I think we must take a large agricultural project food, nutrition, climate , European environmental.

Lastly, the agricultural question is fundamentally geopolitical, it must guide the substance of our proposals. I have always been struck by European policies and the very organization of the European Commission that we have silo policies: agricultural policy, trade policy, development policy. Addressing these three policies separately is a nonsense, the time has come for the EU in this world that moves and is full of threats, to have a real structuring project that obviously concerns the interior of the EU but also its policy exterior. Whether it is Africa, but also the micro-island states that may be concerned, I think that the question of agricultural development at the global level and especially in Africa must be at the heart of the proposals that France must make and must to share with its European partners. “

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