What is the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) of the European Union?

The CAP has great importance in European agriculture and livestock. But what is it exactly? Carlos asks us through our form of EOM explains.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the European Union’s policy for the agricultural and livestock sector. The CAP emerged in 1962 to coordinate the agricultural policies of all member states with the aim of moving towards a common market, as well as protecting a sector vulnerable to external factors such as harvest seasons or weather. Along these lines, one of its main lines of work is to promote productivity through technical improvements to ensure production and supply in all European countries.

To expand: “The CAP, a European pillar in question”, Luis Martínez in 2018

The CAP also aims to defend the interests of consumers and producers of the sector within the EU. The former benefit from the regulation of supply and demand, which allows prices to be stabilized through measures such as the purchase of excess production. As for producers, the CAP offers direct aid and financing for rural economy development projects. Finally, the CAP also aims to protect the environment by promoting sustainable production in which natural resources are used prudently and biodiversity is protected.

The CAP budget is distributed through two funds of the European Commission. On the one hand, the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund supports farmers directly and finances measures to stabilize the market. On the other hand, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development subsidizes projects for rural development. Agriculture, consumer protection or the environment are shared powers between the EU and the Member States, so Brussels has priority in decision-making but also delegates certain issues to national governments. In the case of the CAP, the Commission makes the payments, but it is the States that transfer the aid to each specific project.

The CAP has been one of the main pillars of the EU for decades, as demonstrated by its weight in the community budget: 37.2% of total EU spending in 2018, although that figure exceeded 70% in the 1980s. . In total, the CAP has amounted to more than 400 billion euros in the period 2014-2020.

To expand: “How is the European Union financed?” 2019