WHAT ABOUT THE CAP?
The Aims of the
Common Agricultural Policy are to
- ensure a fair
standard of living for the agricultural community
- assure the
availability of supplies
- ensure that
supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices
It has three
- A SINGLE
In June 2003 significant reforms to CAP
were agreed by EU Agricultural Ministers to pave the way for Enlargement.
WHAT ABOUT THE EURO?
In the EEC, the leaders in Europe were determined to lock their
currencies together. Initially this was in what was called ‘the snake’ between
1969 and 1975. Then from 1979 to 1993 this process became the Exchange Rate
Mechanism (ERM). Now we have their successor, the Euro.
And, this has resulted in even slower
economic growth. Since the introduction of the Euro, or Single Currency, the
twelve countries in the Euro-zone have together seen their economies expand at
barely 1% per annum. The three countries outside the zone here done
significantly better at 2.3% (Britain, Denmark, Sweden)
The EU is not a naturally single currency
area. History, language, social structure and culture all play a part.
In the Euro-zone in the summer of 2003
8.8% of the labour force was registered jobless. This compares to 5.1% in the UK. In France the figure was 9.1%, in Germany it was 9.4% and in Spain 11.3%.
In population terms this means that within
the Euro-zone with a total civilian labour force of just under 140 million, a
little over 12 million were registered unemployed. Add to this hidden
unemployment (those forced into early retirement, long term sick, benefit
recipients etc) and this figure is realistically likely to rise to 18 million,
more than 13% of the labour force.
THE GROWTH AND STABILITY PACT
At the Dublin
Summit 1996 limits public borrowing of all the Euro-zone economies was limited
to no more than 3% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and required that
total state borrowing should be more than 60% of GDP. The Commission has power
to impose harsh penalties on any country failing to comply with the Pact. The
result is nervousness and a further demand economic spiral.
THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB)
This is run by
bankers appointed for 8-year non-renewable terms. Their change is to keep
inflation below 2% and impervious to any democratic pressures. The ECB has
failed to meet its target.
ENLARGEMENT AND THE EURO
The ten new
Member States who will formally join the EU will be obliged to join the Euro
and conform to the SGP. Their monetary policies will be run by the ECB. Most
of these new member states have large agricultural sectors, which are going to
cause massive problems for the Common Agricultural Policy budget. Serious
reform of CAP has been postponed until 2013.