Economics and Policies of an Enlarged Europe

Economics and Policies of an Enlarged Europe

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava have written a very rigorous text in an accessible and jargon-free style, ensuring easy acquisition of invaluable insights into the European economic set-up and the possible evolution of EU policies, including an update on the reform of the Growth and Stability Pact and of the 2007–13 Financial Perspectives.

Chapter 7: The Common Agricultural Policy

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy


INTRODUCTION The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP henceforth) is the best-known and most debated common policy of the EU. Its origins, in the 1950s and 1960s, are linked to history and relate essentially to the transition of the post-war EU economy from an economy based on agriculture to an economy based on industry and services (see Chapter 1). Its continuation in the 1980s, 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century is a delicate balance between political and economic reasons. The CAP is the only entirely communitarian policy in that, as we have seen in Chapter 6, its financing is entirely provided for by the EU budget. As we shall make clearer in what follows, its aims are sustaining the income of farmers, promoting technical progress in agriculture and ensuring selfsufficiency and stable food markets with reasonable prices for consumers in Europe. Among policy makers, academics and practitioners, as well as ordinary citizens, the debate on the CAP is generally hot and often for the wrong reasons. The dividing line between those ‘in favour’ and those ‘against’ the CAP is however resilient to all possible classifications. Political, national or cultural categories are normally not a good indicator of one’s preferences towards the CAP. Within a given political party of a given country, in fact, one may find opposite, often extreme, positions on the CAP. Similarly the change of political colour of a government of any given country does not necessarily translate into a change of that country’s...

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