Common Agricultural Policy, CAP
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aims to develop agricultural production in the Community in a balanced way, taking into account environmental well-being and animal welfare and promoting the viability of rural areas.
The EU’s common agricultural policy was launched in 1962. In the early years, its purpose was to improve the agricultural self-sufficiency of Europe. Now the aim is to adjust agricultural production to market needs. At the same time, the prices of agricultural products have been lowered close to world market prices. Farmers’ incomes have been kept at a reasonable level by paying them direct income support. To be eligible for the support, farmers must comply with certain conditions concerning, for example, food safety, animal welfare and the environment. The aim of all this is to ensure the supply of safe staple agricultural products to consumers.
The CAP has undergone several reforms. The most recent reform entered into force at the beginning of 2015. The reform has addressed current challenges, such as growing food demand and climate change. The priorities of the reformed CAP include more eco-friendly farming techniques, innovation, research and awareness raising, a fairer support system and strengthening the position of farmers in the food chain.