The objective of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to implement a sustainable agricultural model throughout Europe in order to ensure food security and, in addition, to guarantee that European citizens can enjoy the other services provided by agriculture.
This requires a policy which is economically viable and socially just, environmentally sound and market-oriented and, in spite of the many differences between the countries and regions of Europe, simple.
What is the Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has pursued the objectives for the agricultural sector set out in the founding Treaties for almost 60 years. In addition, it has since its inception continuously been adapted to current developments and new challenges, has ensured rural development and has both a direct and indirect impact on urban areas – all in all: a policy for ALL European citizens.
Since the early times of the integration process agricultural policy has been one of the most important fields of European policy. Against the background of food shortages and hunger suffered after World War II, the then six Member States decided to jointly exercise sovereignty over agricultural policy as early as 1957, when the Treaty on the European Economic Community (EEC) was signed.
With its Common Agricultural Policy, the EU pursues different objectives:
- Supply of the population with safe foodstuffs at affordable prices
- Ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers in the EU while at the same time modernising and developing the agricultural industry
- Stabilisation of the markets
After several reforms the Common Agricultural Policy now focuses on the following objectives, although detailed work on an adaptation of the CAP for the time after 2020 is already going on.
- Profitable food production: Provision of safe and sufficient amounts of food to contribute to food security against the background of the rising global need, the economic crisis and significantly stronger market fluctuations.
- Sustainable management of the natural resources and climate action: Farmers often have to place ecological considerations above economic ones, but the accruing costs are not sufficiently compensated for by the market.
Maintenance of the territorial balance and the diversity of rural areas: Agriculture is still an important economic and social driver in rural areas and an important factor contributing to the maintenance of lively rural areas.