Given the sheer scale of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which accounts for close to 40% of EU spending, it is hardly surprising that it should attract scrutiny and criticism. Picking th epolicy apart to assess exactly what benefits it brings and whether it offers good value for money is a big challenge for taxpayers, recipients of funding and even the EU institutions themselves.
The European Commission will publish its much-awaited assessment of the CAP on Wednesday (29 November). This is expected to contain comprehensive recommendations for the future of farm support and rural development, as the EU executive’s thoughts turn to the post-2020 budget.
Ahead of the Commission’s assessment, the NGOs Birdlife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau, along with the European Parliament’s Greens/EFA and Socialists & Democrats groups commissioned their own fitness check of the CAP, entitled ‘Is the CAP fit for purpose? An evidence-based fitness-check assessment’. While they recognised that the policy had achieved good results in eradicating poverty among EU farmers and hunger among EU citizens, the authors questioned the relevance of these goals in today’s context.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the EU’s largest single budget item, absorbing around 38% of all EU spending in the current seven-year budget (2014-2020), or roughly €408bn.