Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Payback for Chirac

Chirac has lost to London his bid to host the 2012 Olympics. And after he dismissed Blair's proposals to cut France's EU farming subsidies, all other French speaking countries just sided with Blair. And so has George W Bush.

The 63-strong group of Francophone nations will demand the end of subsidies under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. an article due to be published in today's Le Monde, Abdou Diouf, the secretary general of la Francophonie and former president of Senegal, joins forces with Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary general, in denouncing the "powerful and entrenched lobbies" that maintain rich countries' farming subsidies.

"Increased trading opportunities are the most potent means of combating global poverty," they write. "The single most important challenge is therefore to stop economic warfare against the poor through a distorted and unfair trading system."

Aid agencies have long regarded the CAP, which overwhelmingly favours French farmers, as a prime culprit in destroying African agriculture by denying it access to European markets and flooding the world with cheap subsidised products.

Ouch! And here is George W's
helping hand:

Asked in an interview broadcast on Monday if the United States would abolish farm subsidies if Europe did, Bush responded: "Absolutely, and I think we have an obligation to work together to do that."

"Let's join hands as wealthy industrialized nations and say to the world, we are going to get rid of all our agricultural subsidies together"...

"The position of the U.S. government is, we are willing to do so ... with our fine friends in the European Union," he said.

I bet he was smiling when he spoke the last sentence. His "fine friends" in the EU responded like the true weasels they are (my emphases):

"...before agreeing on an end date, we need our partners, in particular the U.S., to do the same, by phasing out export credits and the use of dubious 'food aid' to dispose of surpluses -- which is not a way to ensure long-term food security for developing countries".

It would take a heart of stone...