Agriculture and rural development

The early years: establishment of the CAP

The early years: establishment of the CAP

History of the CAP
The early years: establishment of the CAP

The CAP has its roots in 1950s Western Europe, whose societies had been damaged by years of war, and where agriculture had been crippled and food supplies could not be guaranteed.

The CAP aimed at encouraging better productivity in the food chain, ensuring fair standard of living to the agricultural community, market stabilization and ensuring the availability of food supplies to EU consumers at reasonable price.

Incentives to produce were provided through a system of high support prices to farmers, combined with border protection and export support.


3-12 July 1958

In the spring of 1958, the Conference held in Stresa (Italy) brought together a committee of experts consisting of Members of the Commission, the six Ministers of Agriculture, representatives from farmers’ unions and national experts. After the conference, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Sicco Mansholt, was asked to draw up detailed proposals.


30 June 1960

Commission proposals presented in June 1960 aimed to: establish unity of the market based on the free movement of agricultural products, abolish barriers to trade, organise markets by product with prices being progressively unified and guaranteed, ensure Community preference, enable common intervention, set up a European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and establish financial solidarity.


14 January 1962

Council decisions taken in January 1962:

  • the organisation of six common agricultural markets (cereals, pigmeat, eggs, poultrymeat, fruit and vegetables and wine),
  • the introduction of rules on competition,
  • the establishment of a schedule for dairy products, beef and veal, sugar and other measures to assist intra-Community trade,
  • the establishment of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) to finance the operations of the CAP (a Guarantee Section for prices and a Guidance Section for structural measures).