New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law
Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Melaku Geboye Desta
Chapter 11: Stretching the Boundaries of Multifunctionality? An Evolving Common Agricultural Policy within the World Trade Legal Order
Michael Cardwell I. INTRODUCTION When the European Union (EU) commenced reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period post-2013, it became immediately apparent that multifunctionality remained a part of the ‘European Model of Agriculture’: as stated by Commissioner Ciolos in Æ Dublin on 1 October 2010, ‘a fundamental element’ is that ‘agriculture has a crucial multifunctional role for our territories’ (Commission, 2010a). And when shortly thereafter the Commission issued its key Communication, The CAP Towards 2020: Meeting the Food, Natural Resources and Territorial Challenges of the Future (2010 Communication), there could be no doubt that the post-reform role for agriculture would be far broader than the mere production of food and ﬁbre (Commission, 2010b). That said, while multifunctionality has arguably remained a constant feature of EU agriculture, the importance attached to it in policy terms would seem to vary and, moreover, its precise attributes may be regarded as somewhat protean. For example, the 2010 Communication highlights new, ‘non-productivist’ challenges, not least of these being climate change;1 yet, signiﬁcantly, in light of the further new challenge of ensuring food security, renewed emphasis is accorded to the core activity of production itself. Moreover, it is unequivocally declared that ‘the primary role of agriculture is to supply food’ (Commission, 2010b: 4). This state of aﬀairs may not perhaps be surprising, in light of frequent reiteration by the EU institutions that the CAP is an evolving policy. For example, such characterisation was prominent in the policy document which initiated the...
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