The Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome. It provides a framework under which farmers in the European Union operate. It comprises of a number of policies relating to farming, the environment, rural development and agricultural markets. It can broadly be divided into the following 3 areas:

  • direct payments to farmers;
  • market management measures;
  • rural development.

What is the purpose of the Common Agricultural Policy?

The original objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy are set out at Article 39 of the Treaty of Rome as follows:

  • “to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour”;
  • “thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture”;
  • “to stabilise markets”;
  • “to assure the availability of supplies”;
  • “to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices”.

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For more information on:

  • Direct payments to farmers
  • Market management measures
  • Rural development