The crisis years I: the 1970s
In the 1970s, attention began to focus on specific Community policy initiatives to speed up the structural adjustment of the European farm sector.
In 1972, legislation was passed to modernise farms, to promote professional training, and to renew the agricultural work force by encouraging older farmers to take early retirement.
A few years later, in 1975, initiatives were taken to provide assistance to farmers working in difficult conditions, such as hill farmers and farmers in less favoured areas.
In 1979, a 'co-responsibility' levy requiring farmers to pay a penalty for serious over-production was introduced in the dairy sector.
The Mansholt Plan
In the late 1960s, when the common organisations of markets (COMs) were gradually being put in place, the Commission was determined to limit the CAP expenditure. Prepared by the Commissioner Sicco Mansholt, the aim of the first reform plan was to encourage nearly five million farmers to give up farming: that would make it possible to redistribute their land and increase the size of the remaining family farms, in order to make them viable and guarantee for their owners an average annual income comparable to that of all the other workers in the region. The plan was rejected by the agricultural community, and only three directives on agricultural reform were approved in 1972 (modernization of agricultural holdings, abandonment of farming and training of farmers).
- Speech by Vice-President Sicco Mansholt: "The future shape of agricultural policy" [878 KB] (01/1968)
- Commission document: "A new approach to the common agricultural policy" [2 MB] (11/1968)
- "Memorandum on the reform of agriculture in the European Economic Community" [4 MB] (18/12/1968)
- "Reform of agriculture: practical proposals from the Commission" [957 KB] (04/1970)
- "Reform of agriculture: amended proposals submitted by the Commission to the Council" [2 MB] (06/1971)
- "Special report from the Commission to the Council on the consequences of the present situation for the common agricultural policy" [402 KB] (27/09/1971)
- Commission Communication: "Improvement of the Common Agricultural Policy" [2 MB] (31/10/1973)
- "Memorandum Agriculture 1973-1978" [2 MB] (11/1973)
- Commission Communication: "Stocktaking of the common agricultural policy" [3 MB] (26/02/1975)
- Council Directive 75/268/EEC on mountain and hill farming and farming in certain less favoured areas (19/05/1975)
- "Analysis of the stocktaking of the common agricultural policy" [2 MB] (01/1976)
- "Action programme (1977-80) for the progressive achievement of balance in the milk market" [682 KB] (06/07/1976)
- Commission Communication: "Economic effects of the agri-monetary system" [5 MB] (10/02/1978)
- "Progressive establishment of balance on the market of wine - Action programme 1979-1985" [3 MB] (08/1978)
- Commission Communication: "Future development of the Common Agricultural Policy" [307 KB] (29/11/1978)
- Commission Communication: "Economic effects of the agri-monetary system (updated versions 1979)" [4 MB] (14/03/1979)
- Commission Communication: "The Common Agricultural Policy: the urgent need for a better equilibrium" [194 KB] (22/11/1979)