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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, October 01, 2004

Too late to benefit?

Nowhere is the true danger of government entitlements more clear than in the area of subsidies. Once given, their removal or reform becomes almost impossible. It is possible that not one single person thinks that the CAP is a good system and yet once snouts are in the trough all hope for change is lost. Hence just 5 months after joining the EU, we can see headlines such as this: Polish sugar farmers fear subsidy cuts A single example of why:

"Since joining the EU, sugar beet is definitely most profitable crop to grow," says Mr Szpura, "I'll get 80% more money than last year growing these and production costs haven't changed as much, so this year I'll double my profits."

Who wouldn’t want to keep such largesse? Yet unfortunately for Mr Szpura, the sugar regime has become so iniquitous that even the EU is being forced to consider reforming the regime. Currently five million tonnes of European sugar are dumped on world markets every year, and I mean dumped. Millions of farmers in poor countries are losing out to subsidised fat cats in Europe.

Seeing as 60% of farmers in the new entrants had good or very good expectations of the CAP, it does seem unfortunate that the reality is proving somewhat less positive. Some 59% of Mr Szpura’s peers had a favorable view of the EU’s agricultural policies in a survey published last year, with 73% of them expecting EU accession to have a positive effect on farming.

Well the reality is sinking in. Lets hope the consumers in the new countries also start to understand how they are being ripped off.

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