Guide to the CAP web page dschungle
More sites dedicated to the CAP are becoming available and multi-issue sites improve their coverage of CAP issues. This post takes a closer, comparative look at three leading sites: cap2020, capreform and reformthecap. (Yes, it’s going to be impartial. I like all three sites, I have published on all of them, and, being the editor of reformthecap, I have asked the authors of the other two sites for comments to make sure that I got it right.)
AUTHORS AND POLITICAL POSITIONS
cap2020 is run by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), ‘an independent not for profit institute dedicated to advancing an environmentally sustainable Europe through policy analysis, development and dissemination’. Cap2020 is a platform where everybody can publish qualified contributions, all material posted is non-partisan.
capreform is managed by Jack Thurston. He is also the mastermind behind farmsubsidy.org and followthemoney.eu, both projects for better transparency of EU spending. Jean-Christophe Bureau, Alan Matthews and Wyn Grant are among the other contributiors. Their mission statement says: ‘We think Europe's common agricultural policy is in need of fundamental reform and hope this site will be a home for ideas, analysis and debate.’
While cap2020 has many contributors of different colors and capreform relies on a smaller and more similar-minded set of experts, reformthecap is mostly written by Valentin Zahrnt, an economist associated with the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE). The site also features invited contributions from reform-oriented experts and campaigners. reformthecap is not a place for debate but for advocacy: it offers a structured repository of arguments and recommendations for a leaner and greener CAP.
TARGET AUDIENCE AND CURRENTNESS
capreform is clearly the most up-to-date information provider. It discusses CAP politics ‘as it happens’ and often comments on DG Agri communications, EP activities, new data releases etc. within 24-48 hours. Being the best tool to follow day-to-day events, it addresses an audience that has such a slightly nerdish interest.
cap2020 posts mostly relate to current events, often being written by the authors of a study or position paper or the organizers of a conference themselves.
reformthecap is made for non-experts who wish to understand the opportunities and stakes of CAP reform, and for campaigners who can use this resource to convince a broader audience. It does not attempt to cover current events but emphasizes easy access to the fundamental reform issues.
SPECIAL FEATURES BEYOND THE BLOG FUNCTION
capreform contains a news harvester that collects CAP-related items from the Internet, and you can suscribe to a weekly digest email.
cap2020 offers a policy diary of events linked to CAP reform and a collection of profiles that outline member states’ positions on CAP reform. As well as regular policy briefings to be emailed out.
reformthecap provides sections on the political background of CAP reform (opportunities, timelines, the interests of reform-oriented actors) and a thematical issues section (looking at the main policy objectives and instruments) that is translated into several languages (English, German, Italian, Polish – French and Spanish will follow). It also has structured summaries of important studies.
23 Mar 2010
Valentin Zahrnt is a Research Associate and Resident Scholar at the European Center for International Political Economy based in Brussels.