The nine key objectives

For the period 2023-27, the common agricultural policy (CAP) will be built around nine key objectives. Focused on social, environmental and economic goals, these objectives will be the basis upon which EU countries design their CAP strategic plans.

The objectives are:

  • to ensure a fair income to farmers;
  • to increase competitiveness;
  • 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.

Related information

CAP specific objectives by country

Analysis of the key policy objectives

To explain the reasoning behind each of these nine objectives, the European Commission has produced a series of briefs. These briefs summarise the main facts about, as well as the policy relevance of, each objective.

Ensuring viable farm income

"In 2017, farmers earned on average just under half of what could be gained in other jobs, from a third a decade ago."

Key objective: Support viable farm income and resilience across the Union to enhance food security.

The brief examines the current situation with EU farm income, the role of the CAP in supporting it and the differences among EU countries and sectors. Additionally, it discusses which combination of measures are needed to serve the key objective of supporting viable farm income.

DownloadPDF - 1.3 MB

Increasing competitiveness

"Pressures on the EU agricultural resource base have increased due to growing food and industrial demand, which is driven by demographic and disposable income changes."

Key objective: Increase competitiveness and agricultural productivity in a sustainable way to meet the challenges of higher demand in a resource-constrained and climate uncertain world.

This brief outlines a number of drivers and policy tools that are available to trigger productivity gains in EU agriculture, such as research and innovation programs, new technologies, rural development and infrastructure, efficient advisory systems and continuous training for farm managers.

DownloadPDF - 1.5 MB

Farmer position in value chains

"Agriculture is characterised by a stagnant and low share of value added in the value chain, due to high input costs, variation in production and incorporation of new services."

Key objective: Improve farmers' position in the value chain

The brief examines how the new CAP can strengthen the position of farmers through such measures as strengthening cooperation among farmers, increasing market transparency and ensuring effective mechanisms against unfair trading practices.

DownloadPDF - 858.7 KB

Agriculture and climate mitigation

"EU agriculture has a key role to play in helping to reach the commitments of the Paris' agreement and EU strategies on sustainability and bioeconomy by stepping up its ambition in terms of GHG emissions."

Key objective: Contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as sustainable energy.

This brief examines the role that agriculture can play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through new farm and soil management techniques. Additionally, it explores the risk that climate change poses to agriculture.

DownloadPDF - 1.3 MB

Efficient soil management

"Agricultural soils in the EU contain the equivalent of 51 billion tonnes of CO2 which is significantly more than the greenhouse gasses emitted annually by EU Member States."

Key objective: Foster sustainable development and efficient management of natural resources such as water, soil and air.

The brief focuses on soil as one of the most important natural resources, supplying essential nutrients, water, oxygen and support for plants. It also examines the concerns related to soil health and highlights the importance of policies which promote soil protection.

DownloadPDF - 1.1 MB

Biodiversity and farmed landscapes

"Just as agricultural activity depends heavily on various types of biodiversity, so also it plays an important role in the conservation of farmland-dependent habitats and species."

Key objective: Contribute to the protection of biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and preserve habitats and landscapes.

This brief addresses the topic of biodiversity within the EU, with a particular focus on its links to farmed landscapes and landscape features. With this focus, it recounts some of the changes needed in the farm sector, explains the relevant CAP tools currently available, and asks key related questions about how the CAP should develop in future.

DownloadPDF - 2.1 MB

Structural change and generational renewal

"A vibrant agricultural sector needs skilled and innovative young farmers to respond to societal demands, from quality food to environmental public goods."

Key objective: Modernise the agricultural sector by attracting young people and improving their business development.

This brief identifies the challenges and needs of young farmers in the EU and outlines how a more targeted system of support, based on needs assessment and more quantifiable expected results, can stimulate generational renewal and better help the success of young farmers in the agricultural sector.

DownloadPDF - 1.9 MB

Jobs and growth in rural areas

"The CAP plays a major role in alleviating some of the unemployment and poverty pressures on rural areas. A recent study by the World Bank demonstrated the positive role played by the policy in reducing poverty."

Key objective: Promote employment, growth, social inclusion and local development in rural areas, including bio economy and sustainable forestry.

This brief explores the role of the CAP in the rural economy and looks at how income support and rural development spending helps maintain employment rates and standards of living.

DownloadPDF - 1.1 MB

Health, food & antimicrobial resistance

"The overall sales of veterinary anitmicrobials across 25 European countries have decreased by more than 20% between 2011 and 2016."

Key objective: Improve the response of EU agriculture to societal demands on food and health, including safe, nutritious and sustainable food, reducing food waste, as well as animal welfare.

This brief focuses on the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animal husbandry, the close links between animal welfare, animal health and food-borne diseases, and EU actions that can support farmers and the EU countries in the fight against AMR.

DownloadPDF - 527.8 KB

Simplifying the CAP

"Administrative costs are the result of oversight to ensure taxpayers’ money is used for what it is intended for. The proportionality of the burden in relation to the benefits is key: an efficient policy will minimise costs, including bureaucracy, to the highest possible effectiveness."

Key objective: Simplify the CAP

The brief lays out the facts about administrative burden under the CAP and explores the potential for and challenges to simplification.

DownloadPDF - 1.2 MB