Today marks a milestone for the European Union — the euro became a legal currency in 12 countries across Europe comprising 300 million people. Sometime in February, those 12 countries will phase out their existing currency and the euro will be the sole currency. Do not expect to see farmers in Poland, which is not yet a European Union country, celebrating the EU’s advance, however — if the multi-state confederation has its way, millions of small farmers in Poland will be out of work.
The European Union maintains that Poland’s small landholdings are inefficient. According to a Christian Science Monitor report, of 2 million farms in Poland, 1.6 million are small family farms of only a small number of acres (in southern Poland, the average farm is just 10 acres). If Poland wants to join the European union, it would have to pass laws preventing these small farmers from selling their produce.
Now, countries with poorly functioning property laws that result in many extremely small farms may be inefficient, but the hilarious part of this is that the European Union wants to get rid of the small farms so that it can push heavily subsidized goods from farms in existing EU countries. Will Poland be able to offer its farmers subsidies as well? No — farmers in the new member states such as Poland would not be eligible for such subsidies.
This is not about preventing inefficient farming practices in Poland, but rather protecting the inefficient and heavily subsidized farming practices in existing EU nations. If the EU really wants to promote efficient agriculture, it could start at home by drastically slashing its farming subsidies rather than trying to rig Polish agriculture in its favor.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Poland’s small farms stunt EU aspirations. Arie Farnam, The Christian Science Monitor.
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