No sooner has Beckett admitted that there will be no changes to the CAP until 2014 then, right on cue, in weighs Jacques Chirac declaring that he is not willing to make any concessions on EU agricultural policy as part of discussions on the EU budget.
On this, he could not have been more unequivocal. Speaking yesterday in a television interview on the occasion of the Bastille Day national holiday, L'Escroc said: "I am not prepared to make the smallest concession" on CAP, adding that the EU had two problems to resolve: To fix the next budget and to emerge from the crisis brought about by the "no" votes in the EU referendums. He said he was defending the CAP "not only to defend the interests of French farmers."
Not a month ago, Blair was making his song and dance about reforming the CAP and then talking about abolishing it. Now, it is all over – the CAP will remain unchanged for the next nine years and probably for many more years thereafter.
For sure, Chirac may be gone by 2007, but anyone who thinks that Sarkozy – or any other French leader – is going to take a different line had better think again. Electorally, farmers in France are still too important to be ignored. Likewise, you cannot expect anything drastic from Angela Merkel – the CDU is in hock to the powerful Bavarian farmers so she is not going to budge.
For all the acres of print, the torrent of extruded verbal material from the broadcast media, and the fine words from Blair and his henchmen, the idea of "reform" has run into the sand. The whole CAP drama was nothing but a total, utter farce.