Agriculture, is to date, the economic sector in which the integration of the EU members has gone the farthest. The success of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is the result of the elaboration of some basic principles aiming to establish a common market. Since the CAP implementation in 1962, the agricultural field has become the one in which the EU has the vastest powers. The CAP is also the most pricy EU policy, as it absorbs 40% of its budget. During the 1990s, the various agricultural crises i.e. the mad-cow disease, the scrapie, the Dioxin Affair, or even water tables pollution, combined with the growing cost of the CAP, have turned the most successful Community policy into the most controversial one. More than fifty years after the Rome treaty, which first raised, although feverishly, the question of a common agriculture, one can wonder why the CAP, originally one of the foundations of European construction, is now having trouble adapting to the new international economic context. In order to know, we will first go through the founding principles of the CAP, as well as the various reforms it has experienced. Then, we will study the CAP's limits, and the challenges it has to face in the future.
[...] To insure a comprehensive alimentary security within the EU, common rules must be transposed to the candidate and administrative structures must enforce the order. Such transposition is expensive and restrictive. The principal problem arises from the fact that candidates are incapable of ensuring proper control at the borders. Since 2004, these new entrants wanted full accession to the CAP, in other words, a direct access to agricultural subventions. In fact, agriculture was a major point of concern during negotiations. One month before the Copenhagen summit, the “fifteen” did not agree with the accession of those countries owing to the cost of such a process. [...]
[...] Four years of bargaining were necessary for the experts' team led by Mansholt (former Dutch agriculture minister) to propose in 1962 a draft project of the common agricultural market acceptable by all member states. This last point brings us to raise the question of the financing of the CAP. In order to manage CAP expenditures, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF; replaced on 1 January by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF)) was created in December 1962. [...]
[...] The liberalization of the agricultural exchanges cannot be profitable to every country. In fact, the countries exporting agricultural products will benefit from liberalization at the expense of the importing countries. What happened to the textile industry may happen again in the agriculture sector. As for the United States, the agricultural production in Europe is moderated by the existence of preferential regimes, offering less developed countries a privileged access to the European market. The Maurice Island, for instance, exports more easily, notably its sugar, to Europe, whereas it closes its market to Brazil. [...]
[...] Faced with the international competition, which is more competitive considering the net agricultural productivity, Europe had better pursue agriculture of quality. This represents another challenge for the CAP, the environment. Since its creation, agriculture has been looking for increasing productivity and stepped up yield. This has caused a noteworthy decrease of the traditional agriculture, less productive, but this has also always shaped the landscape and European ecosystem, at an ecological level. Thus, the digging out of hedges, use of fertilizer and overproduction has impoverished soil by facilitating wider natural disasters (such as inundations), and has provoked soil, water and air pollution. [...]
[...] For those on the economists' side, despite its two first reforms, the Common Agricultural Policy costs more than what the Union is rewarded with in terms of benefits. For the others, the model has balanced. We can also note that the reinforcement of other Community policies has turned the CAP into a policy forced to evolve and reform itself so as to be coherent not only with the competition policy, but also with the completion of the interior market, the regional development policy, or the environmental protection policy. [...]
using our reader.