Friday, 8 July 2016

How will Brexit affect the EU's agricultural policy (the 'CAP')?

In a new study (PDF) for the European Parliament's agriculture committee on the interaction between the EU's agriculture and foreign policy, Alan Swinbank has also included a section on the effects of Brexit (pp. 34-5).

In short, he makes three main points:
  • A sizable amount of money will be missing as Britain is a net contributor and there'll also be a net loss to agricultural funds spent outside the UK.
  • Trade flows will be affected, for example for the Irish dairy and beef sector.
  • The UK's reform oriented voice will be missing in the post-2020 EU agriculture policy discussions. We can expect more public intervention and spending in agriculture afterwards.
It'll be interesting to play these kinds of scenarios out for all major EU policies, as the EU will slowly have to prepare for a time post-Brexit, the changed power dynamics between member states (and to some extent this will also affect the European Parliament), and the resulting policy-changes.

Some argue that Brexit will bring the EU more together, but what if this "togetherness" will actually be more backwards-looking than forward-looking? What if it means going back to times when the EU invested more in food subsidies than it did for future-oriented technology and investment?