What is the Common Agricultural Policy?

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) is in many respects a highly dysfunctional policy which fails to achieve its objectives or only does so at considerable cost. Nevertheless, it remains a cornerstone of the EU, accounting for around 40 per cent of the EU budget, and many UK and European farmers are dependent on it for their continued survival.

When the Treaty of Rome established the Common European Market in 1958, state intervention was a major feature of agriculture in the six founding member states. National support policies which were transferred to the European level.

The basic objectives of the policy as set out in the Treaties are:

  1. to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and ensuring the optimum use of the factors of production, in particular labour;
  2. to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers;
  3. to stabilise markets;
  4. to ensure the availability of supplies;
  5. to ensure reasonable prices for consumers.

Click here to read more about the Common Agricultural Policy and Brexit

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