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Cablegate: French Agricultural Official Clashes with Eu Commission

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Lucia A Keegan 10/17/2006 10:33:27 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS SENSITIVE PARIS 06828

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: AGR
INFO: UNESCO SCI POL ECNO DCM AMB ECON TRDO

DISSEMINATION: AGRX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AGR: EBERRY
DRAFTED: AGR: XAUDRAN
CLEARED: AGR: EBERRY EMIN : TWHITE

VZCZCFRI170
RR RUEHC RUEHRC RUCNMEM RUEHMRE RUEHSR RUEHGV
DE RUEHFR #6828 2891635
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161635Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2239
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1363
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0207
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2510

UNCLAS PARIS 006828

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA AND EB ;
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS AND TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/YOST/ROBERTS;
ITP/SHEIKH/MACKE/TOM POMEROY/ROBERT CURTIS/GREG YOUNG;
FAA/ALEXANDER/HIGGISTON;
USDA/RMA FOR ELDON GOULD AND JAMES CALLAN
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EU FR

SUBJECT: French agricultural official clashes with EU commission
representative on reform date.
1. (SBU) Summary : Debate between a GOF agriculture official and a
representative of the European Commission at an October 10 seminar
on agricultural risk management highlighted continuing differences
over:

- the date of the next round of CAP reform (2008 vs. 2013);
- whether the EU needed to make overtures on domestic support and
market access to help restart the Doha Trade Round; and
- the possibility of using one percent set-asides for crop insurance
programs. End Summary

2.(SBU) during a seminar on agricultural risk management, the high
level representative of the French Ministry of Agriculture publicly
clashed with the representative from the European Commission. He
accused the Commission of lacking innovative policies and blamed the
EU for not effectively reacting to agricultural crises. The EU
representative replied that France's position was not representative
of other member states' positions and that the budget constrained
the EU Commission's initiatives.

3. (SBU) Tomas Garcia-Azcarate from the Agricultural Directorate of
the EU Commission explicitly explained that in the current
environment, the EU Commission had no intention of establishing a
crop or revenue insurance system for European farmers. There was no
European consensus on this issue and no budget provisions for such a
system. He also insisted that the 1 percent set- aside from farm
payments through the modulation system was solely to be used by
Member States for rural development and environmental policies. He
stated that for the Commission, the next reform of the CAP will take
place in 2008, not 2013. Tomas Garcia-Azcarate also mentioned that
the Commission may have to make further proposals on market access
and domestic support levels to help restart the Doha trade round. He
concluded by lamenting current French hostility to the Commission.

4. (SBU) Christian Ligeard, who heads the International Relations
Office at the Directorate for Economic and International Policy at
the French Ministry of Agriculture, reacted strongly to Garcia
Azcarate's statement. He reiterated that for France, 2008 was just a
date to evaluate the current CAP, but that no reform should be
undertaken before 2013. He also insisted that no further WTO
proposal should be made by the EU Commission before other trade
partners (namely the United States) make new proposals themselves.


5. (SBU) Christian Ligeard then criticized the Commission for being
too cautious in tackling the various crises in agriculture while
forbidding Member States to help their respective agricultural
sectors. He referred to the Commission's refusal to set safeguard
measures (even if such measures are authorized by the WTO) in 2005
when the European apple market was severely impacted by large
imports from the southern hemisphere.

6. (SBU) Christian Ligeard also criticized the lack of will of the
EU Commission on the crop insurance issue. He stated that for
France, the 1 percent set-aside under the modulation system could be
used for such programs, even if it ends up in the amber box.

7. Comment : While French officials, including President Chirac,
have been strenuously opposing a 2008 "health check" of the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), there are certain reforms many in the
French agricultural sector would like to see, particularly in the
area of enhanced risk management (ie crop and revenue insurance).
The desire for reform may motivate the French to agree to at least a
limited discussion of CAP provisions in the 2008 time frame. The new
French administration which will be installed following the
presidential election of 2007 may also be more open to discussing
CAP reform. End comment

Stapleton

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