Four main regulations govern the common agricultural policy , introduced by a reform in 2013 to simplify legislation. The rules have applied since 2014.
The four regulations cover:
- direct payments linked to environmental-friendly practices (Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013): a set of common rules for direct payments for active farmers including a mandatory "greening" component and a focus on young farmers; all payments are subject to cross-compliance. European Union (EU) countries can grant payments to farmers in areas with natural constraints on a voluntary basis or opt for a simplified scheme for small farms. More on direct support
- market measures (Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013): basic elements for a common organisation of markets in agricultural products, such as private storage aid for certain products listed in the regulation, etc.
- rural development (Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013): fosters the development of rural areas in terms of competitiveness, sustainable management of natural resources and job creation. It outlines priorities such as the transfer of knowledge and innovation, the promotion of food chain organisations in sectors such as fruits and vegetables, energy or water efficiency in agriculture and food processing, etc. EU countries can align rural development programmes to best respond to country-specific needs
- horizontal issues (Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013): lays down the rules for CAP expenditure, the farm advisory system, control systems set up by EU countries and the cross-compliance system
The European Commission's Directorate-General for agriculture and rural development can adapt delegated and implementing acts to realise the common agricultural policy. The fundament of the common agricultural policy is set in the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (title III).