With the final stages of the CAP reform process getting under way, UK environment secretary Owen Paterson today demonstrated his grasp of the underlying issues under discussion. It would seem that Paterson believes that Ray MacSharry’s or Franz Fischler’s reforms could somehow be undone.
“Some Member States have been pressing to take CAP back to the dark days of butter mountains and wine lakes, with costly interventions in the market,” the British minister insisted.
“I have resisted this every step of the way. That’s why Germany and the UK were unable to support one of the regulations which manages the EU food and agriculture market,” he asserted.
The minister is not for turning, either. Like a former UK prime minister recently interred in the crypt at Westminster, Paterson is happy to make farming sound like an extension of shopping. “All along I have rejected moves that would increase costs for hard pressed consumers. British shoppers should not have to pay twice for the CAP – once through their taxes and again at the supermarket tills.” No mention of hard-pressed farmers, though.