New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Fergus Carr and Andrew Massey
Chapter 12: Agriculture
Wyn Grant The 2004 enlargement of the European Union (EU) took place at a time when a debate was occurring among analysts about whether substantial progress had at last been made in reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP had been devised at a time when policy makers had very different preoccupations from those that concerned them at the beginning of the twenty-ﬁrst century. For policy makers the aftermath of the Second World War was a very real recent memory. Large segments of the European population had had insufﬁcient food to eat and, against the background of the Cold War, food security seemed to be a major priority. The possibility that the communist states of Eastern Europe might one day become democratic countries with liberal market economies with a union of European states would have seemed an impossible dream. Hence agricultural policy was governed by a ‘productionist’ philosophy in which the emphasis was on encouraging farmers to maximize their output. The CAP was set up with a ﬁnancial structure that rewarded farmers for successfully increasing their production. The mechanization of European agriculture, a process still taking place at the time that the CAP was being established, and the possibilities offered by the chemical revolution offered by fertilizers and agrochemicals, made higher levels of output relatively easy to achieve, assisted by the dissemination of new knowledge by state-funded agricultural advisory services and the ‘ﬁeldsmen’ of the leading agrochemical companies. Improvements in veterinary medicine and in animal husbandry techniques...
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