CAP Objectives

New legislative proposals

On 1 June 2018, the European Commission presented the legislative proposals on the future of food and farming.

The new legislative proposals make the common agricultural policy (CAP) apt to respond to future challenges. The CAP remains at heart a policy designed to support European farmers and ensure Europe’s food security, while guaranteeing a resilient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector.

The European Union shapes its budget for a pragmatic, modern, and long-term planning for the 2021-27 period to deliver on the issues that matter to Europeans. The Commission proposes that funding for the CAP is moderately reduced –by around 5% – to reflect the new reality of a Union at 27.

Related information: EU law-making process 

Nine clear objectives

Based on nine clear objectives, the future CAP will continue to ensure access to high-quality food and strong support for the unique European farming model with an increased focus on the environment and climate, supporting the transition towards a more sustainable agricultural sector and the development of vibrant rural areas.

The nine objectives of the future CAP are:

  • to ensure a fair income to farmers
  • to increase competiveness
  • to rebalance the power in the food chain
  • climate change action
  • environmental care
  • to preserve landscapes and biodiversity
  • to support generational renewal
  • vibrant rural areas
  • to protect food and health quality

Boosting future agriculture and rural development

The future common agricultural policy strives for:

A fairer deal through better targeting of support

Supporting small and medium-sized family farms that are at heart of the EU’s agricultural way of life, and to encourage young farmers to join the profession, the European Commission proposes:

  • to reduce direct payments to farmers as of €60,000 and capping for payments above €100,000 per farm (labour costs will be taken fully into account)
  • a higher level of support per hectare for small and medium-sized farms
  • a minimum of 2% of direct support payments allocated to each EU country will be set aside for young farmers, that can include an increased “installation allowance” of up to €100,000
  • EU countries having to ensure that only genuine farmers receive support

Guaranteed higher ambition on environmental and climate action

Farmers play a key role in tackling climate change, protecting the environment and preserving landscapes and biodiversity. In its proposal, the European Commission sets high ambitions on environmental and climate change. Mandatory requirements include:

  • preserving carbon-rich soils through protection of wetlands and peatlands
  • obligatory nutrient management tool to improve water quality, reduce ammonia and Nitrous oxide levels
  • crop rotation instead of crop diversification.

Farmers will have the possibility to contribute further and be rewarded for going beyond mandatory requirements. EU countries will develop voluntary eco-schemes to support and incentivise farmers to observe agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment.

Greater use of knowledge and innovation

Knowledge and innovation are essential for a smart, resilient and sustainable agricultural sector. The CAP of the future will both encourage increased investment in research and innovation and enable farmers and rural communities to benefit from it. A specific budget of €10 billion from the Horizon Europe programme will be set aside for research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy. The agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) will continue to pool funding sources from Horizon Europe and rural development to foster competitive and sustainable farming and forestry.

A new way of working

The European Commission proposes a more flexible system, simplifying and modernising the way the CAP works for farmers and society at large. The policy will shift the emphasis from compliance and rules towards results and performance. It will give more freedom to EU countries, letting them decide on the way to meet common objectives set at EU level while responding to the specific needs of their farmers and rural communities.


  • 1 June 2018

    The European Commission proposed new legislation to shape the future of the CAP.

    An impact assessment supporting the legislative proposals for the CAP was carried out.

  • 29 November 2017

    The European Commission presented a communication outlining ideas on the future of food and farming.

  • February to May 2017

    The European Commission launched a public consultation on modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy. The findings of the consultation voiced consensus in keeping a strong common agricultural policy at European Union level to address challenges ahead (fair standard of living for farmers, environment and climate change), and a need for a simpler and more effective policy.


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