Do the EU policies on agro-food smell?

White Stilton Cheese/Blue Stilton Cheese

White Stilton Cheese/Blue Stilton Cheese

If we believe what is written in the Treaties, in the European Union everybody is equal and the same flag of democracy waves above the heads of all. But wait a moment. What was that, some English writer, one George Orwell, said in his novel, the Animal Farm? Ah yes, that some are more equal than others! Incidentally this is what happens in EU’s agricultural policy decision making, always under the flags of equality and democracy. For one moment think of the newcomers in central Europe. You remember those poor ex-communist eight countries, which were welcomed pompously during a militaristic staging under the Acropolis of Athens? Hey, they are less equal than their “old” colleagues, because farmers in those newcomer countries are still, after ten years, receiving much less in subsidies.

The European Union however is discriminating not only in its mega policies like the huge enlargement to central Europe. Actually all European Union institutions always discriminate in their everyday function. A very good example is the lucrative international trade in agro-food products. The EU is constantly negotiating mutual trade concessions and rights with its overseas trading partners. When it comes to agreements for mutual protection of geographical or speciality food names, big trading partners like China insist and have the power to impose a quid pro quo arrangement. “You protect ten names of our products in your market and we protect another ten of yours in our market”, said lately some Beijing negotiators in Mandarin accented English to their Brussels colleagues. And they were absolutely right. It is fair and just.

Actually it happened exactly like that, this past week when the Commission proudly announced on Friday 30 November, that its “workers” accomplished “A project aiming at ensuring protection of 10 famous EU food names in China, the biggest consumer market in the world”. It is more than certain the other side was equally proud over this, probably without making any announcements. No need for the average Chinese in the streets, to be informed about what original European special foods his rich countrymen will be able to eat.

Let’s stay on our side though, and let the Chinese solve their own differences. Then which ten out of hundreds EU special food names Brussels choose to protect, in the largest consumer market of the world? Hey, you guessed correctly. The ten EU products which are going to be protected in the Chinese market are coming from only four EU “oldies”, namely France, Italy, the UK and Spain. You will find in this bouquet cheese, ham, olive oil and other goodies. All those ten specialities originate from big central countries. Not even Greece or Portugal, or Ireland managed to include their own special foods in the “golden” ten, to be protected and make fortunes in the world’s largest consumer market. This is the way the European Union functions. And mind you the agro-food sector is by far the largest market almost completely controlled by Brussels. In reality there is no national agro-food policy conducted independently by EU member states. It is the Common Agricultural Policy formulated by Brussels bureaucrats, who take care of everything. This entire sector, with its huge international facets, is completely controlled by central EU authorities. You can imagine what happens there! It is not only national interests, which are being served. Private…pockets also play a big role in the decision making procedure.

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