Farmers on Welfare

Farmers on Welfare: The Making of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy

Ann-Christina L. Knudsen
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 368
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt7zck4
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  • Book Info
    Farmers on Welfare
    Book Description:

    In 2007 the farm subsidies of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy took over 40 percent of the entire EU budget. How did a sector of diminishing social and economic importance manage to maintain such political prominence? The conventional answer focuses on the negotiations among the member states of the European Community from 1958 onwards. That story holds that the political priority, given to the CAP, as well as its long-term stability, resides in a basic devil's bargain between French agriculture and German industry.

    In Farmers on Welfare, a landmark new account of the making of the single largest European policy ever, Ann-Christina L. Knudsen suggests that this accepted narrative is rather too neat. In particular, she argues, it neglects how a broad agreement was made in the 1960s that related to national welfare state policies aiming to improve incomes for farmers. Drawing on extensive archival research from a variety of political actors across the Community, she illustrates how and why this supranational farm regime was created in the 1960s, and also provides us with a detailed narrative history of how national and European administrations gradually learned about this kind of cooperation.

    By tracing how the farm welfare objective was gradually implemented in other common policies, Knudsen offers an alternative account of European integration history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-5889-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Introduction: TIME, WELFARISM, AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
    (pp. 1-22)

    The tension between the desire to control the economy and leaving it alone has been a constant feature of the politics of postwar Western societies. Responses to the growing world food crisis at the dawn of the third millennium reflect this and put in a new perspective the painful international negotiations in the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO). When these talks were suspended toward the end of July 2006, Pascal Lamy, the WTO’s director-general, declared that he was not prepared to reschedule further multilateral talks.¹ When talks resumed in July 2008, they broke down again after...

  6. 1 THE AGRICULTURAL WELFARE STATE
    (pp. 23-56)

    In its immediate context, the epigraph for this chapter refers to agricultural policies in postwar Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland, but it could equally well be applied to farmers in the context of public policies in Western Europe. The idea that agriculture is “special,” or at least different from other sectors of the economy, underlies state agricultural policies. Political rulers who want to create social stability have always had to regulate agriculture and the food supply, but since the late nineteenth century state regulation of the sector’s activities has become more systematic and comprehensive throughout Europe. The idea of agricultural...

  7. 2 THE EUROPEANIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL POLITICS
    (pp. 57-121)

    Public policy processes are, by and large, unpredictable. The interplay between politicians, political institutions, and time is sometimes illustrated through the garbage can metaphor.¹ It has also been observed that “there are many government functions which, by their nature, can never have clear objectives.”² The politics of the agricultural welfare state seems well illustrated as a garbage can, and it is important to understand the internal institutional constraints that the primary political actors faced with the making of the CAP.

    When agricultural exceptionalism became enshrined in the EEC Treaty, agricultural politics was still primarily a domestic affair. The Europeanization of...

  8. 3 OUTLINING THE OPTIONS FOR THE CAP, JANUARY 1958 TO JUNE 1960
    (pp. 122-169)

    In this chapter I trace the first stage of the policy-making process in the creation of the CAP—from the installment of the European Commission in Brussels in early 1958 to the release of the first proposal for the CAP in June 1960.

    In addition to drawing up the CAP proposal, this was a period when most things in the Community were begun, from staffing the Commission to finding ways of peaceful coexistence between the various political actors involved at all levels of Community politics. Many decisions were made that laid the foundation for the way the political process at...

  9. 4 DECISIONS AND INDECISIONS FOR THE CAP, JUNE 1960 TO JANUARY 1962
    (pp. 170-206)

    The Commission’s June 1960 proposal was biased toward market and price policy instruments for a welfarist CAP, but at the same time it was not specific as to what exactly the design of the CAP would be. The above quote from an interministerial meeting in Germany sums up well the situation that the political actors in the Community were still facing two-and-a-half years after the entry into force of the EEC Treaty: deciding more clearly what the contents of the CAP should be. In this chapter I explore the political processes behind these choices, ending with the renowned “marathon” Council...

  10. 5 THE POLITICS OF THE COMMON PRICE LEVEL, JANUARY 1962 TO DECEMBER 1964
    (pp. 207-265)

    To most people grain prices constitute a rather prosaic topic. Yet the transfer of authority to settle grain prices from the national to the Community level was a highly ambitious political task, entangled in two of the most ambitious political projects of the twentieth century: the agricultural welfare state and the European Economic Community. To most of those involved, the common grain price was a political milestone, with economic, financial, and agrotechnical issues ultimately relegated to second place. This chapter chronicles the lengthy discussions that followed in the wake of the January 1962 Regulation 19 until the final settlement of...

  11. 6 EUROPEAN FARMERS ON WELFARE
    (pp. 266-303)

    The decisions about grain prices that were made in stuffy meeting rooms during late-night gatherings of political leaders during in the first half of the 1960s—however remote or obscure these may seem to political commentators today—are closely linked to the fate of the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization more than four decades later. The policy paradigm of the CAP was designed to stabilize and improve farm incomes, as the preceding chapters showed. In this sense, the CAP that developed in the 1960s brought a change of locus of authority for key agricultural welfare-policy aims and...

  12. Conclusion: THE CAP AND EUROPE’S HISTORY
    (pp. 304-318)

    In this book I have examined how the fundamental policy choices for the CAP were made by tracing the steps of the political process between the entering into force of the EEC Treaty in January 1958 and the settlement of the common grain price in December 1964. In order to explain the particular policy paradigm that was installed, I began by outlining the ideational and historical continuities of agricultural exceptionalism and welfarism embedded in the policy objectives and instruments of the agricultural welfare state. I argue that the CAP needs to be classified as a form of social policy and...

  13. A Note on Methodology
    (pp. 319-320)
  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 321-338)
  15. Index
    (pp. 339-348)