PACtatrac, Renziloni disaster over subsidies in agriculture


While bogeys are being stirred up in Italy about the government to come, the outgoing one has just caused further and very serious damage to the Italian food supply chain. PACtatrac, the Renziloni disaster for the decade to follow, Italy loses subsidies in agriculture hands down. Brief notes to follow.

PAC, Risk and storytellers

The CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) is that major share of the European budget that is poured into agro-industrial production. Its future, for the period 2021-2027, was decided in Brussels in recent days after months of intense negotiations that saw the Northeastern countries as protagonists and winners. Not the municipalities of Veneto but Germany and neighboring states.

The Renziloni band

has been very busy over the years singing the tales of the plant’s headquarters

and the decrees on the origin of pasta, rice and tomato

. And the agricultural confederations participated in the celebration, all singing and playing.

The Merkel army meanwhile was playing Risk with the Nordic countries, in a game where the winner gets the money on the territories, the loot on the farmland. Colonel Wolfgang Schauble has organized a series of conferences in Brussels over the years devoted to the EU Financial Framework Risk 2021-2027.

German meetings have always included the participation of the ‘Selmayr clan’. In Brussels jargon, the cohort of Jean-Claude Juncker’s former right-hand man (who was appointed secretary-general of the Commission in a coup) and his followers senior Commission officials. As well as officials from the Nordic countries and the so-called Visegrad bloc. From Italy, at most, a few MEPs.

The German Risk-taking on the 2021-2027 budget had already begun at the dawn of the previous one (2014-2020) and always followed a defined protocol. The Berlin government invites bigwigs from the Commission and a few think tanks to explain Germany’s vision and implement its strategy.

Italian storytellers, however, would occasionally throw a little party with buffets of the delights of the Bel Paese. And that’s how – between a fiordilatte, a slice of prosciutto and a glass of wine – the Gentiloni gang even got their parking tokens ripped off. Without even looking, meanwhile Pantalone pays.


The games are over now, those who gave gave and those who got got got. One just has to decide how to cover that 13 billion hole caused by Brexit. Or cut spending, as the Scandinavians and Eastern countries want. Or increase the net contributions of the twenty-seven member states, as Germany would like, breaking through the 1 percent wall. (1)

Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced the patatrac, or rather PACtatrac, in the proposed multi-year EU budget for 2021-2027. With a CAP cut worth 240% of the ‘Brexit hole’. From 408.3 billion to 378.9 billion, the common agricultural policy will lose 7 percent in absolute value.

The PACtatrac in Italy will be tragic, as levels of direct payments per hectare will be harmonized among member states and more targeted, tending to converge toward the EU average. Not to mention the difference in value added between a fine vineyard and a potato field. Instead, the European Commission will emphasize the environment, climate and the transition to more sustainable agriculture and the development of dynamic rural areas.

Nice parting words, all the same and everything greener, more attention to small and medium-sized farms. There may be a new crisis reserve, to cope with unpredictable collapses in international markets or other causes.

Small content, the greater flexibility given to member states to ensure ‘the best use of the agricultural budget’. They will be freer to choose how to allocate the pennies, theargent de poche, between direct payments and rural development.

The blame for this -for once at least, please note-is not Europe’s. But of the hackneyed storytellers who have not even appeared at the discussion tables. Matteo Renzi first and Paolo Gentiloni later, in the company always of Maurizio Martina and most recently of the New Democrat Carlo Calenda.

Dario Dongo


(1) Cuts in agricultural subsidies and European funds to the Mezzogiorno are all too predictable. And the ending is already written. Expecting that the budget must be approved unanimously, Italy will go along with others’ mediations

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.