The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the agricultural policy of the European Union. Following the devastation of the Second world war, the six countries, the founding members called the European community – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany stepped up initiatives to revise the social and economic fabric of the nations together. It was created in 1962 and is the longest-serving EU policy. The CAP was a cornerstone of the European Economic Community (EEC) established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
Its main objective:
- Increase agricultural productivity
- Ensure fair standard of living for the agricultural community
- Provide stabilized market
- Provide certainty of food supplies
- Ensure those supplies reach consumers at fair prices
- Provide affordable, safe and high-quality food for EU citizens
- Preserve natural resources and respect the environment
The EU's common agricultural policy is a set of laws adopted by the EU to provide a common, unified policy on agriculture. Its origin is to be found in Article 38(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:
“The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy. The internal market shall extend to agriculture, fisheries and trade in agricultural products.”
On 2 December, 2021, the agreement on reforms of CAP was formally adopted. The new common agricultural policy of 2023-27 will be the key to securing the future of agriculture and forestry, as well as achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal. It will seek to ensure a sustainable future for European farmers, provide more targeted support to smaller farms, and allow greater flexibility for EU countries to adapt measures to local conditions. It shall be more focused on :
National strategic plans
Each EU country will design a national CAP strategic plan, combining funding for income support, rural development, and market measures. When designing their strategic plans, EU countries will contribute to the ten specific objectives through a toolbox of broad policy measures provided by the Commission, which can be shaped around national needs and capabilities.
Focus on performance and results
CAP legislation lays down a common set of indicators as part of a new performance, monitoring and evaluation framework. The indicators will be monitored through annual performance reports and a biannual review of the performance of CAP strategic plans to assess the progress of EU countries in reaching their targets and the objectives of the CAP.
Some of the key reforms are:
- CAP strategic plan will be more contributed to environmental and climate green deals. Every farm of at least 3% of arable lands will be dedicated to biodiversity and non-productive elements. Wetlands and peatlands will also be protected. One third of the budget shall be allocated for eco-schemes, rural development, operational programmes, focusing on climate, environment, and biodiversity.
- The new CAP shall support re-distributed income support tool with its direct payment. Focus on an active system of farmers and the young famers, improve the working conditions, converge payment more within the individual EU countries and between EU countries and encourage increased participation of women farmers.
- Strengthen a competitive market for the farmers with an amount reserved for the crisis amounting to 450 million euros per year.
- Increased support on advanced research, knowledge-sharing, and innovation. For this Commission has proposed to set aside €10 billion from the Horizon Europe programme for projects relating to food, farming, rural development and the bioeconomy.
The reformed CAP will benefit from this increased investment, incorporating stronger Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) to boost the development of innovation projects, disseminate their results, and encourage their use as widely as possible.