Summary Cereal production in the European Union has boomed thanks to the Common Agricultural Policy and has become today the third largest in the world with 306 million tones expected in 2018 or 14.6% of global production. Presented on the international market – with 33.5 million tones exported or 11% of its production – in […]
Common Agricultural Policy
Which CAP for the European Union in the 21st century?
The Common Agricultural Policy was founded to respond to the challenge of food sovereignty in Europe, on the basis of the fact that a pooling of financial means and the definition of common political guidelines are more effective than the sum of potentially divergent national initiatives.
This investment policy of Europe in its future has met the expectations in terms of agricultural production, both in quantity and in quality.
Food security remains today the prerequisite for an area to have a strong and credible political strategy in today’s multipolar world.
In a globalized world where food security for all should be guaranteed, the European Union is also responsible for ensuring the sustainability of a stable presence in global food markets.
At the same time, the CAP has evolved to respond more to the challenges of vitality in Europe’s rural areas and to the preservation of the environment with the fight against climate change.
As a base for developing rural areas, managing 75% of Europe and our natural resources, European agriculture is a key factor in this area and farmers are the only reliable relays for effective action.
Today, the CAP must aim to meet the objectives of:
- Ensuring the food security of Europeans and enabling European citizens to have access to quality food at affordable prices
- Ensuring a correct level of income for farmers even as the volatility of agricultural markets have increased considerably since the mid-2000s under the combined effect of climate change and the globalization of these markets
- Preserving the environment, soil, air and water while contributing to the fight against climate change
- Keeping the European Union as the world’s largest exporter – the EU is also the world’s largest importer of agricultural and food goods,
- Maintaining a strong agricultural network, a basis of territorial development of agro-food activities and local economic development in all European regions
Through its successive reforms, the CAP has sought to respond to its challenges one after the other but ultimately treating them separately from one another.
For the lack of a sufficient vision, the societal challenges have been partially addressed by normative stacks while the economic challenges have largely been left fallow.
The challenge for those who will have to decide on future European policies having an impact on agriculture and rural areas of the European Union, is not only to reconcile societal expectations and economic challenges but to put them in synergy by focusing the CAP on the challenge of the dual performance of our agriculture: no economy without more environmental, no environment without economic benefit.
For this, the CAP must become again an investment policy of the European Union in its future and centered its actions on:
- the investments and innovations in farms and the food chain; agricultural sectors need to seize digital opportunities quickly both for their relationships with consumers and their economic and environmental performance.
- the incentive for a transition of European agriculture towards dual performance agricultural systems such as integrated agriculture, digital agriculture, organic farming or conservation agriculture,
- securing European farmers against risks and crises by combining basic direct aid, support for climate risk insurance tools and mutual funds for income stabilization and an effective European crisis management reserve
- the promotion of a quality European food model, diversified for all European citizens.