Things have gone a bit quiet on the subsidies front after the "agreement" reached at Geneva to keep the stalled international trade talks on the road. However one bit of news is that the
new European Trade Commissioner to succeed Pascal Lamy will be none other than Peter Mandelson, one of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's cronies. The appointment caused a lot of controversy in Britain because Mandelson is unpopular in the Labour party and the new job is seen as a gift from Mr Blair for favours past.
It is - but that doesn't mean that Mandelson - who has shown little previous interest in agriculture reform - won't do a good job. He is deeply political and very keen to make a success of something after two ministerial posts he had previously (Secretary of State for Industry and Secretary for Northern Ireland) were ended prematurely before his efforts had born fruit. He is a capable person and will want to do something positive for developing countries. But he hasn't met many French farmers yet. Watch this space . .