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Is the Common Agricultural Policy indispensable for the future of Europe ?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Need of CAP for the European agriculture.
    1. An economic support for the European farmers.
    2. Adaption of CAP to the needs of farmers.
  3. The concept of multifunctionality: The roles of agriculture in the society.
    1. Meaning of multifunctionnality.
    2. The relevance of such a concept.
    3. Measures implemented by the EU.
  4. The CAP and the new challenges: Enlargement and World Trade Organization.
  5. Enlargement.
    1. Situation in CEECs.
    2. Reforms to cope with the enlargement.
    3. Rural development.
  6. EU and the WTO expectations.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Bibliography.

The CAP has long been a stumbling block among EU members. Last year, Jacques Chirac strongly opposed Tony Blair's proposal about the CAP. Indeed, France is the country which receives more agricultural subsidies while the United Kingdom does not get any concern in the agricultural policies. The Common Agricultural Policy is a typical European item, given that the Rome Treaty, signed in 1957, holds that the European Economic Community should lead common policies concerning agriculture. In the 1960's was created the first organization dealing with agriculture, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Nowadays, agriculture has remained a central topic, giving that the regulation dealing with agriculture stands for half of the European global regulation. First of all, it seems useful to indicate what the CAP is. Article 33 of the European community holds that the CAP aims at boosting the agricultural productivity, providing farmers with an ?equitable income?, ensuring the supply of fresh products to European countries and reasonable prices for consumers. No one can deny that those purpose are all the more well funded as when the Rome Treaty was written, European farmers could not meet the European demand of food. Moreover, helping farmers was necessary because they stood for a large part of the European labor force.

[...] As polls show, it is indispensable for the Common Agricultural Policy to adapt to concerns of European citizens on the environment. The Euro barometer made by the European Opinion research group (spring 2001) clearly shows that the main justification of subsiding agriculture is, owing to the Europeans, food safety: Moreover, the polls put emphasis on the fact that the argument of multifunctionality seems relevant to the European citizens. III) The CAP and the new challenges: Enlargement and World Trade Organization In 2003, the EU commission has launched a reform of the CAP in order to meet the expectations of the WTO and those of countries to reduce CAP expenditures. [...]

[...] The Common Agricultural Policy is trying to adapt to new challenges, such as the protection of the environment, food safety, the enlargement and the complaints of the world Trade Organization. I think that the European Union should continue to implement the CAP. In particular, some matters such as the protection of the environment and food safety are decisive and the citizens are attached to those principles. More reforms have to be implemented in order to be sure that every farmer who benefits from the CAP respect elementary principles, such as a moderate use of fertilizer. [...]

[...] EU and agriculture in the world Europe is harshly criticized by the United States and the members of the CAIRNS group (Brazil, Australia, Canada ) for its excessive custom fees. So far, prices fixed by the European Union have remained higher than those on the global market. This raises many problems, and provokes high EU expenditures in agriculture. Moreover, the system of fixed prices does not provide incentive to reduce production, so as to reach a balance on the market of agricultural products. [...]

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