It was quite shocking to see the way in which certain countries, beginning with Great Britain, questioned the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as the indulgence of specific commentators who caricatured it. According to them, the CAP has not evolved since the Treaty of Rome. Why such aversion to this policy when it is quite accepted in the United States? When we blame ourselves, the Americans use food as a weapon! Why should we abandon a policy that made as the second exporter of non processed agricultural products in the world and the first of the processed ones? By attacking this policy of the “old Europe”, Tony Blair is acting against Europe.
The European agriculture is an advantage for the European Union. Tony Blair falsifies the figures of such policy to make people believe 40% of the European expenditure is devoted to it. But, they are necessary. More than 10% of the jobs of the European Union and about 20% of the jobs of the private sector in France depend on these expenditures in the agri-food sector. In addition, 450 million Europeans benefit from them for they have access to quality food products at good prices. The President of the Republic is right in pointing out that the CAP is modern. It is modern for the relations it has established with developing countries which have a privileged access to the European market. This contradicts the propaganda that says Europe and the PAC destroy the poor countries’ agriculture. Europe is being blamed for the destabilization of the agricultural markets of the developing countries but, who has noticed that the products which determine the incomes of the farmers of these countries are cotton, rice, peanut, coffee or cocoa, almost inexistent crops in Europe? Finally, during the negotiations that took place at the WTO, the European Union was the only one in proposing changes in favor of the poorer countries. Besides, Jacques Chirac proposed, along with President Lula from Brazil, an international tax to finance development. It was also him who began the establishment of the Foundation for World Agriculture (FARM).
France supports the CAP. It is not alone and it was thanks to it that a limit for European agricultural expenditures was set. We would like to urge those who pretend to lecture us to be modest. Europe has paid for the English mistakes in agriculture and food security. The two most important health crisis we have had in the last years (the “mad cows” and the Food-and-Mouth disease) came from Great Britain. We are still paying several billions of euros. The English have always attacked the PAC but it is them who get the best checks. On our side, we don’t think because farmers voted “no” in the referendum they must be “abandoned.”

Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.

La PAC, un enjeu d’avenir”, by Bernard Accoyer and Josselin de Rohan, Le Figaro, June 24, 2005.