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Friday, January 08, 2010

2.5 million tonnes of EU waste

Few things represent the absurd and outdated nature of the EU's budget as well as the weird butter and grain mountains. These mountains consist of surplus produce that Europe's farmers have been unable to sell on the market and that is instead bought up by the EU Commission under the Common Agricultural Policy. It is then stored in massive stockpiles providing the ultimate image of EU waste.

It's somewhat of a common perception that these mountains are a thing of the past - that they've disappeared following a series of reforms of the CAP (for which Tony Blair gave up £4 bn of the UK's rebate from the EU's budget).

Not so.

From Swedish agricultural magazine Land we learn (for those of you who aren't regular readers of the publication) that there's now some 2.5 million tonnes of surplus produce in store around Europe. 2.5 million tonnes! The butter and grain mountains appear to be growing again, following the Commission's decision last year to reinstate controversial "intervention buying" in the dairy sector (the phasing out of which was meant to form a central part of the CAP reforms promised to Tony Blair).

Tony's complete failure in the EU budget negotiations in 2005 is becoming more conspicouos by the day.

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