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EU to farmers and consumers: you are all fools

Showing a lack of self-awareness that would embarrass the average plank of four by two, the EU Commission has had one of its bright ideas:

"Commission proposes ways to deliver cheaper and more competitive food prices in Europe"

I am *not* making this up.

I would start by scrapping the CAP and allowing complete free trade in food with the rest of the world, but fear not, the EU is not proposing anything quite as dramatic as that. Naturally. So capitalist acts between consenting adults will continue to be restricted.

What it has in mind is this:

"Promote the competitiveness of the food-supply chain to increase its resilience to world price shocks". Which means more interference form the Commissariat in pursuit of a non-market defined 'fair' price.

"Ensure a vigorous and coherent enforcement of competition at EU and national level through the European Competition Network and target those practices and restrictions that are particularly harmful". Because left to their own devices, food producers will not compete on price or quality, the way they did for aeons before the Treaty of Rome.

"Review potentially-restrictive regulations at national and/or EU level. Regulations that restrict market entry need to be scrutinised and removed where appropriate while keeping in mind their environmental and social goals. This will be done in the context of the retail market monitoring exercise and the transposition of the Services Directive. Regulations that restrict the ability to compete on prices should be examined at national level. Late payments by retailers or excessive fees demanded from producers for promotional offers should be reviewed. Regulations on shop opening hours could also be the subject of consultations at national level". Where to start? The caveat in bold makes it pretty clear what will happen....

"Consumers should be able to better compare prices. A permanent European monitoring of prices will be set up". Sounds good on the face of it, but consumers already know when they overpaying, and do so for reasons of convenience or whatever. As David Ogilvy once put it, "The consumer is not stupid, she is your wife". Feel free to update the quote to make it more contemporary. Heaven knows how many bureaucrats would be put on the payroll for this little venture.

"The Commission will examine with regulators of commodity markets how to discourage excessive volatility in the markets that benefits neither producers nor consumers". 'Excessive' volatility, eh? When prices soar, someone is making an extra buck euro, and when they fall, I for one am quite happy....


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Blogger Old BE said... 11:21 am

Indeed one of our own towering intellects the other day proposed a "Kyoto Treaty" for increasing the planet's food production capacity. 'cos that'll work...  

Blogger CityUnslicker said... 3:58 pm

I protest that yo label this fund and games.

it is Sturm und Drang.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:16 pm

BE - O tempora, o mores....

CU - Yeah, it is a bit inapproprate sometimes, but I'm rather fond of the tag.  

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