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Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Central to the history of european integration , this scheme became operative in 1962. It was foreshadowed by the 1957 rome treaties , and reflected particularly a deal to ensure that the new common market should benefit not only German manufacturers but also French farmers. The CAP developed common prices for most agricultural products, together with a unified system of subsidies and import levies. By the 1980s, however, greater efficiency and technical progress in farming were generating large quantities of over-subsidized exports as well as unsalable surpluses, largely funded by general taxpayers to the advantage of an ever smaller number of rural producers. Fraud too had become rife. With the CAP consuming nearly half the European Union budget at the beginning of the new century, there was increasing pressure for structural reform. In 2003 the member states agreed on a transfer of subsidy (phased through to 2012) that would move towards rewarding land stewardship rather than specific crop production. The further decision to hold overall CAP expenditure level in real terms meant a potentially tougher regime for EU farmers, particularly since their number rose as a result of the membership enlargements of 2004 and 2007. (See also rural society ) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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