I would love to know when Franz Fischler was converted to the idea that he should help engineer a radical reformation of Europe's discredited Common Agricultural Policy, because it appears to have been as sudden as it is dramatic. Not that I am complaining. Sensible debate about the future of the CAP is long overdue ­ as is real change, of course. But what puzzles me is that Fischler, the Eurocrat responsible for agriculture, hasn't exactly built his reputation on being a strong advocate for massive change of the CAP. Earlier this year at the annual conference of the National Farmers' Union, Herr Fischler was playing down the idea that the mid-term review of the Agenda 2000 reform package would be the ideal time to discuss more changes. Oh no, he said, that would have to wait until the next round of talks slated for 2006. "We have made good progress over the last 10 years. Let us not throw out the baby with the bath water but concentrate on the positive direction of our reform. What we need is not revolution but evolution," was his somewhat complacent view at that conference. Those comments are completely at odds with the rather more strident sentiment being expressed this week by the Commissioner. "Change cannot be achieved by a few minor cosmetic changes," he said, "Restoring the credibility of the CAP will require a wholesale change." A U-turn? Or was Fischler always a closet advocate of CAP reform? Who knows. Who cares? What's important is that more people within the EU political establishment now appear to be pressing for change, which means there is more chance of finally seeing some action. And as Sir Don Curry waits to hear next week whether his equally radical proposals for reforming food and farming in this country will get funding from the Treasury, it must be comforting to know that others within Europe are starting to believe he is on the right track. Let's hope Gordon Brown and Co agree. {{OPINION }}