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The German explanation is that intervention stocks are high because other countries' farmers prefer to sell their surpluses to intervention buying agencies in Germany because they receive speedier payments or higher prices. In any case, this line of reasoning, valid through it may be regarding surplus stocks, fails to take account of the increasing German share in total EEC agricultural output and trade. 5 per cent. Between 1973 and 1976, the increase in exports of agricultural products to other EEC countries was 80 per cent for Germany and 40 per cent for France.

The MCA system has become so complex that a complete treatise would be required to do full justice to the subject. At the obvious risk of over-simplication, it may be said that MCAs are introduced or increased on a member state's trade in CAP products when its currency is devalued or revalued but when, for national political or economic reasons, it is reluctant to adjust its 'green' rate (used to convert common prices expressed in units of account into national prices) immediately to market rate changes.

Nor was it the fact that, because of the bookkeeping methods adopted and the trade flows, MCAs came to account for some 10 to 15 per cent of total spending of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). In fact, EAGGF expenditure, expressed in EUAs, increased by 43 per cent in The rise of German agricultural power 1978 and 12 per cent in 1979 without in itself triggering a major political row. What caused a serious problem for the Community, in a political sense, was a divergence and conflict of national interests between France and Germany, which erupted in connection with the coming into operation of the European monetary system (EMS).

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