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History of the CAP

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).


Key documents:




Key documents: 





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