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Common Agricultural Policy


Common Market Organisation

Codex alimentarius

The Codex Alimentarius is a body of standards decided on by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to protect the health of consumers and to ensure fair practices in international food trade. The Commission was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation. It aims to strengthen the consistency of food standards throughout the international community.

Understanding the Codex Alimentarius

Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the most important EU policies, accounting for some 45% of its budget. The main aims of the policy include ensuring reasonable prices for Europe's consumers, fair incomes for farmers, production of high quality products and the use of environmentally friendly production methods, through the Common Market Organisation.

CAP can intervene by providing financial support when farmers are hit by natural disasters or outbreaks of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth.

The most recent review of the CAP , launched in 2007, will assess whether or not certain adjustments are needed to make the policy better able to cope with new challenges and opportunities.

Common Market Organisation

The Common Market Organisation is designed to monitor the European agricultural markets and to provide farmers and consumers with a steady income and secure food supplies respectively. It covers about 90% of the EU output.

A single Common Market Organisation (CMO) now governs as many as 21 agricultural sectors which were until 2007 organised into 21 sector specific organisations. This initiative is an important step in the process of simplifying and streamlining the Common Agricultural Policy. Not only does it improve the quality of the legal texts, but it also replaces more than 650 legal articles with around 200.

Without changing the substance of the existing instruments and mechanisms, these harmonised rules cover the classic areas of market policy - intervention, private storage, import tariff quotas, export refunds, safeguard measures, promotion of agricultural products, state aid rules, communications and reporting of data.

Economic partnership agreements

An economic partnership agreement (or EPA) sets out rights and obligations for both parties entering the agreement. Mutual compliance with these obligations is essential to the whole undertaking. The focus of the EPA are African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. On the one hand, the EU is opening up its markets to products from these countries and, on the other, these countries are making preparations to strengthen their supply capacity and reduce transaction costs.


European Technology Platform: industry-led stakeholder forum charged with defining research priorities in a broad range of technological areas.


EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements

The EU concluded seven Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements between 1998 and 2005 with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Lebanon, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Tunisia and the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. These agreements provide a suitable framework for North-South political dialogue and determine the activities which are important for the achievement of the Barcelona Declaration's objectives. They also serve as a basis for the gradual liberalisation of trade in the Mediterranean area, and set out the conditions for economic, social and cultural cooperation between the EU and each partner country.


Food and Agricultural Organisation


Food, drink and milk sectors

High level group on the competitiveness of the agro-food industry

A High Level Group on the competitiveness of the agro-food industry has been set up to address issues affecting the competitiveness of the EU's agro-food industry and to identify factors influencing its sustainability. It also has the task of formulating a series of sector-specific recommendations for EU policy makers.


High level group

Inward processing

Inward processing permits the import of goods for working and subsequent re-export. Outward processing permits EU goods to be exported for working and then subsequently re-imported with total or partial relief from duties.

Inward processing regime

IP certificates

Inward Processing certificates

NA-1 products

Non-annex 1 products


Processed Agricultural Products

(also known as Non-Annex I products)

Processed Agricultural Products

Processed Agricultural Products (PAPs) are goods made out of agricultural products. Examples include: chocolates and confectionaries, sweet drinks, biscuits and bakeries products, and other preparations.

PAPs are also referred to as Non-Annex I products as they are not included in the list of agricultural products of Annex I to the EC Treaty. This list sets out all the agricultural products which could be subject to a Common Market Organisation such as cereals, bananas, sugar and eggs.


SANCO is the name given to DG Health and Consumers whose job it is to review and update laws regarding the safety of food, consumers' rights and the protection of people's health. It also has the task of ensuring that traders, manufacturers and food producers across Europe observe these laws.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement which is based on WTO rules sets out how governments can apply food safety and animal and plant health measures. While it allows countries to fix their own standards, it stipulates that these must be based on science and only be applied to the extent necessary to protect human, animal and plant life or health.


Sustainable consumption and production


Agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary measures


Strategic Research Agenda


Stakeholder Strategic Research Agenda

Stabilisation and Association Agreements

The EU concludes Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA) with certain countries in exchange for political, economic, trade and human rights commitments. Western Balkan countries are the focus of the SAA and are offered financial assistance and tariff-free trade to EU markets.

One of the latest countries to enter into agreement negotiations with the EU is the Ukraine, which would join existing members - Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Technical Barriers to Trade


Waste Framework Directive


World Health Organisation

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation is an international organisation that sets global rules of trade between nations. It was set up in 1995 and brings together 153 governments and political entities such as the EU. The legal basis for the EU's common trade policy is Article 133 of the EC Treaty. A special committee meets on a weekly basis to coordinate EU trade policy.

The EU and the WTO

Tariff and non-tariff barriers


World Trade Organisation

(Organisation Mondiale du Commerce)

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