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Health check

An adjustment of some aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy that took place in 2009. The Common Agricultural Policy was substantially reformed in 2003. However, in due course, a number of further challenges arose, such as the simplification of the way that direct payments were administered, giving farmers more help to lower carbon emissions and to adjust their farms to the effects of climate change, and further increasing the influence of market signals on the cropping and production decisions of farmers.

The Commission published a communication on these issues in November 2007. This was followed by a period of public consultation which lasted six months. In May 2008, the Commission transmitted its legislative proposals to the Council. After discussion and modification, the Council regulations, of which there were three, were published in January 2009 and entered into force the following month.

The adjustments brought about by these regulations are known as the ʽhealth checkʼ of the Common Agricultural Policy. Inter alia, the health check abolished arable set-aside, increased milk quotas gradually leading up to their abolition in 2015, and converted market intervention into a market safety net. It also increased modulation, whereby direct payments to farmers were reduced and the money transferred to the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This allowed farmers to better respond to a number of new challenges, including climate change, the need for better water management, the protection of biodiversity and the production of green energy.

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