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Background on the Council for Agriculture and Fisheries: 10 interesting facts about the Common Agricultural Policy

Met dank overgenomen van Duits voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2020 (Duits Voorzitterschap), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 20 oktober 2020.

On 19 and 20 October, EU agriculture ministers are meeting to negotiate a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A simplification of the CAP and an increase in compensation for climate, environmental and conservation services are on the agenda. Here are 10 interesting facts about the CAP.

  • Agricultural policy is one of the most communitised policy fields in the European Union. Its central regulations and concomitant financing of measures come from the EU level. “CAP” stands for the European “Common Agricultural Policy”.
  • Since 1962, the CAP has been in place to ensure - above all - that farmers have an appropriate income and that food supplies in Europe are guaranteed.
  • The EU member states want the CAP to be a common policy that also plays a major part in the use and conservation of natural resources and the development of rural areas.
  • Currently the sector receives about 58 billion euro a year in assistance. That is equivalent to some 40 per cent of the EU budget, making it the largest EU budget item by far.
  • Between 2014 and 2020 Germany received about 6.2 billion euro in EU agriculture funding per year. The funds are divided into two pillars.
  • The first pillar is used to finance direct payments to farmers. These funds are particularly important for the survival of small and medium farms and for farms in disadvantaged regions. Direct payments under the CAP help secure and stabilise farmers’ income by balancing the fluctuating prices of agricultural produce, which can be extreme in some cases.
  • 30 per cent of funds are tied to certain conditions that farmers must meet. This can involve diversifying crops, ensuring crop rotation - and thus crop diversity - and the sustainable preservation of grasslands and ecological focus areas with farming methods that are particularly beneficial for climate change mitigation and environmental protection.
  • The second pillar involves targeted assistance programmes for sustainable and environmentally sound farming and rural development. This includes agri-environmental programmes and the promotion of organic farming.
  • The CAP benefits all German and EU citizens. First, it ensures a reliable supply of high quality, nutritious food at affordable prices. Second, it rewards the services that farmers provide for the common good, such as creating opportunities for employment and for generating income in rural areas.
  • The CAP also rewards services that conserve and protect the environment in all parts of Germany in the form of what are known as voluntary agri-environmental and climate measures.

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According to a current survey conducted by the EU statistics office Eurostat, three out of every four EU citizens are familiar with the CAP and believe that it benefits all citizens. 95 per cent of those interviewed stated that agriculture and rural areas are important for our future in the EU. Over 27,000 citizens in the 27 EU member states took part in the survey.


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