Any reader of this web log will know that I’m a friend of the Union. But even yours truly agrees that the agriculture sector is a sad story full with subsidies, tariffs and protectionism. This week brought some good news though. Subsidies to sugar beet farmers will be limited. Mind you, not abandoned. Limited.
Swedish Agriculture Minister Ann-Christin Nykvist has welcomed the decision by European Union ministers Thursday to overhaul the EU’s sugar subsidies, slashing prices by more than a third and offering generous pay-offs to farmers willing to abandon sugar beet production.
Even minor reforms require outside pressure, in this case from the WTO. Supporters of the Lisbon agenda for reform and competitiveness might despair. We have a long way to walk.