‘The Common Agricultural Policy is vital to secure our food production, and the future of over half of our territories.’
EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş
A new partnership between Europe and farmers
The CAP is a link between the expectations of EU citizens for agriculture, and the needs of EU farmers facing economic and environmental challenges. It is an investment of the European Union in a strategic sector in terms of food, environment and economic growth in rural areas.
In June 2013, EU institutions agreed upon a new direction for the Common Agricultural Policy. The reform has been shaped by a full public debate with citizens and stakeholders with the objective of adapting it to new challenges in terms of:
- the competitive position of European agriculture;
- fairness and diversity of farming systems across Europe;
- climate change and the protection of natural resources; and
- relations among actors throughout the food chain.
A fairer, greener and more efficient policy
The new CAP has short, medium and long term tools to secure the capacity of the EU agricultural sector to produce quality food for more than 500 million consumers, enhance the sector’s economic and ecological sustainability, and maintain the diversity of the EU countryside, traditions and farming practices. It aims at:
Ensuring a reliable supply of healthy, affordable food
- Turning the diversity of farming into a strength. Direct payments will be targeted more fairly between Member States, regions and farmers to take fully into account Europe’s different traditions, farming practices and rural economies.
- Strengthening farmers’ position within the food chain, to enable them to get the best market price for their produce. Professional and interprofessional organisations will have new rights to be able to increase efficiency, and producer organisations will be supported to develop direct sales between producers and consumers.
- Providing better protection against price volatility. Mutual fund and agricultural income insurance will be promoted. A new crisis reserve will deliver immediate help to farmers in the event of an economic, weather-related or other type of crisis.
Making agriculture greener and more efficient
- Encouraging better use of natural resources to tackle climate change and safeguard biodiversity. 30% of direct payments and 30% of rural development funding will be linked to sustainable production methods. There will be specific aid for organic farming.
- Doubling funding for research, innovation and knowledge-sharing including through a new European Innovation Partnership. This encourages closer cooperation between scientists and farmers, helping them modernise and produce more, with less, and better.
Revitalising the countryside and its rural communities
- Boosting the number of farmers across Europe by making the profession more attractive to young people. Young farmers under 40 will be eligible for 25% extra income support during their first five years in the sector.
- Stimulating employment and entrepreneurship by supporting rural business in expanding beyond food production into food processing or rural tourism, for example.
- Ensuring income support is better targeted to stimulate growth and employment. Only ‘active’ farmers will benefit from payments. Those working in less favoured areas qualify for extra funding, as do small farmers whose aid will be simplified.
The CAP is essential to protect the future of farming and rural life in Europe.
 The Common Agricultural Policy after 2013 – Public Debate, Executive summary of contributions: