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By Michael Tracy

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Germany had, on the whole, the highest prices. France – often blamed for the subsequent excesses of the CAP – could have accepted lower levels, knowing its big grain producers would have a competitive advantage; the Netherlands had the lowest price levels. Inevitably, in view of pressure from farm organisations, the target prices finally agreed were closer to the German levels. The complex mechanisms incorporated features from previous policies in each of the Member States: in particular, market intervention by public bodies (deriving mainly from French practice) and variable import levies (from Germany, indeed from former Nazi policies).

1 Nevertheless, in October, April and June the Council had to meet in Luxembourg, which caused many practical problems, requiring staff – especially translators – to be on hand just in case they were needed. The invention of the fax – I remember the very first faxed message arriving from Brussels – and later no doubt of e-mail greatly helped to solve such problems. 41 A EUROPEAN LIFE The Treaty (on French insistence) also required sessions of the Parliament to be held in Strasbourg, while its Secretariat was then mostly in Luxembourg.

I personally felt the time had come to move on again. As a result of my visit to Australia, I was offered a tempting post in the Department of Primary Industry in Canberra. However, opportunities were also opening up in Brussels. My choice of the latter had less to do with the characteristics of the job than with the feeling that, after all, my place was in Europe. Once it was clear that the European Economic Community was not going to collapse, the British government opened negotiations for entry.

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A European Life: From War to Peace by Michael Tracy


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