2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the EU’s Common Agricultuure Policy (CAP), a cornerstone of European integration, that has provided European citizens with 50 years of food security and a living countryside. The CAP remains the only EU policy where there is a common EU framework and the majority of public spending in all Member States comes from the EU budget, rather than from national or regional budgets. Figures show that the CAP has helped see a steady increase in economic value, in productivity, and in trade, while also allowing the share of household spending on food to be halved.
The CAP is a policy that has always evolved to address necessary challenges. For example, the reform process since 1992 has seen a move towards much greater market orientation and away from trade-distorting support, while also taking into account consumer concerns about issues such as animal welfare, and the doubling of the number of farmers within the EU (following enlargement from 15 to 27 Member States).
In October 2011, the Commission presented its latest proposals for further reforms to the CAP aimed at addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow: food security; climate change; the sustainable use of natural resources; balanced regional development; helping the farming sector cope with the effects of the economic crisis and with the increased volatility of agricultural prices; and contributing to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.