European agricultural policy of the last 20 years


The European agricultural policy of the last 20 years

How does the new CAP change compared to the past?

The European Common Agricultural Policy has rediscovered, from the 1990s onwards, the value of diversity understood as a homogeneous complex of values ​​and is gradually seeking a new status capable of creating multifunctional production processes, i.e. of combining agricultural productivity in a synergistic way with other integrative and complementary activities. to it such as agritourism, refreshment, accommodation, educational farm, direct sales in the company, recreational-sporting, craft, cultural, social activities, which contribute to giving an economic profit to the main activity understood as purely agricultural and that they integrate together in a single sustainable environmental context as well as strengthen competitiveness in a new international marketing scenario.

This process of transformation of the functions of agriculture, relegated in the past to a one-dimensional reality and standardized in one-way processes, involves a radical revision of the rules and tools that define the technical, economic, ecological and institutional environment in which farms must orient themselves.

The introduction of the concept of eco-sustainable rural development according to which economic activities must be evaluated in a coordinated way in relation to their socio-economic and environmental effects, places the concept of "agriculture" as a co-production between man and nature at the center of the new model. The environmental question, the problems of food safety and animal welfare, the problems of production surplus have interrupted the common thread between the scientific connection of agricultural scientists and new socio-political norms that regulate the development of the rural world and we are faced in a totally different way. to a new context.

Therefore, now more than ever, common European agriculture is looking for a new identity capable of generating internal and external auditing and opportunities and new competences in production processes, always taking into account, obviously, the differentiated needs of the most socially and culturally virtuous countries and the most backward ones. .

Maintaining the CAP budget will be more essential than ever to enable farmers to continue delivering wide-ranging economic, social and rural benefits and to help meet the challenges facing the EU in the future.

How are the rules and strategies for eco-sustainable rural development defined?

1962. The CAP enters into force

The general objectives are defined as follows: - to increase the productivity of agriculture by developing technical progress, ensuring the rational development of agricultural production as well as a better use of the factors of production, particularly labor - to guarantee the prices of agricultural products

1966. The CAP needs reform

Inevitably, incompatibilities and inhomogeneities have emerged at the community level:
  1. destabilization of the Community and international market due to the formation of surpluses to be disposed of (more was produced than the market was able to absorb);
  2. increase in agricultural production costs resulting from the production surplus;
  3. creation of a system strongly linked to the market and unstable that does not promote technological and structural improvement;
  4. increased imbalance between favored and disadvantaged areas;
  5. imbalance of aid (80% of support for 20% of producers).

In terms of agriculture and the environment, the strategies that developed from the mid-1980s onwards and which led to the formation of the "framework programs" for the 2 sectors can be summarized as "The Green Book "of July 1985 and" The Fifth Program of Action 1993-1999"(Mac Sharry Reform) the 1st is a basic compendium for the implementation of the rules on agriculture that take into account the inadequacy of the measures to support agricultural prices alone and the 2nd has been specifically elaborated by the European Commission on the environmental issues of sustainable development based on the principles set out in Agenda 2000 which is the global action plan adopted by the United Nations conference on environmental and development issues held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

Agenda 2000 (2000-2004) and Fischler Reform (2005-2009)

In addition to its productive function, agriculture is recognized for its contribution to landscape conservation, environmental protection, the quality and safety of food products and animal welfare. The concept of multifunctionality is introduced and the foundations are laid for the development of sustainable and competitive agriculture.

To achieve the objectives of the CAP, the EAGGF European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and the CMOs Common Organizations of Agricultural Markets were created. The EAGGF, financial fund of the CAP provides for an "orientation" section to contribute to structural agricultural reforms, that is to say market and to the development of rural areas and a "guarantee" section to finance expenses related to the CMO, such as the purchase or storage of surpluses. productive markets.

The CMOs such as the fruit and vegetable CMO and the wine CMO still in force for most agricultural products have favored Community production through the free circulation of agricultural products within the Member States (unified market), giving priority in trade to European products. and protecting the domestic market for products imported from third countries and from large fluctuations on the world market.

A characterizing element of the reform is the so-called "modulation of interventions", that is the gradual passage of financial quotas destined for corporate aid for production and animal husbandry towards an innovative rural development as a process and intrinsic to the company with added value and profit. cheap.

With the application of Modulation, a system of levies is provided to be calculated as a percentage of direct aid. The resources thus obtained at Community level are from time to time transferred from market policies (1st pillar of the CAP) to Rural Development policies (2nd pillar of the CAP) which thus find their own source of financing with the specific EAFRD Fund for the pillar.

The National Strategic Plan (PSN) collects and elaborates all the aforementioned community priorities, defining a general strategic and agricultural framework. Therefore, a number of prizes destined for larger companies will be transferred to the Fund for Rural Development, or to structural improvement interventions of agricultural companies. The novelty is very important if we consider that Italy has always used all available funds to support product prices and only a marginal share to improve structures and rural development in a wider social context.

But what are the advantages for agricultural entrepreneurs compared to the past?

The direct benefits can be basically summarized in a single concept whereby the integration of agriculture with the other sectors of the rural economy (also called entrepreneurial multifunctionality) is one of the socio-economic objectives of the most advanced countries and agricultural entrepreneurship itself develops benefiting from growth. in the territory of secondary and tertiary activities. By their nature, these latter activities favor the inclusion of local resources in a wider circuit so the birth of synergies with the agricultural system depends very much on the ability of its local structure to activate innovation and competitiveness.

The resulting indirect benefits are:

  1. decoupling: introduction of a single payment per farm, disconnected from production and therefore the possibility of freeing themselves even temporarily from agricultural activity
  2. conditionality: payment subject to compliance with a series of agro-environmental measures, therefore the possibility of developing and consolidating business potential related to environmental aspects
  3. audit: introduction of a new business consultancy system, therefore the possibility of increasing and integrating one's skills and entrepreneurial skills
  4. modulation: reduction of direct payments to large companies in order to promote rural development, therefore the possibility of increasing and enhancing entrepreneurial activities
  5. regionalization: possibility for the national authority to renounce the calculation of individual aid under the historical phase and to set an average regional flat-rate aid with the possibility of modulation and greater control of the interventions themselves
  6. rural development: increase in appropriations for rural development and introduction of new measures in favor of the environment and food quality with the possibility of making the structural interventions of the activities more homogeneous
  7. financial discipline: financial discipline mechanism, to prevent the budget set up to 2013 from being exceeded with the possibility of greater rigor and control over all activities concerning the agro-environmental system.

In summary, with the reform of 2003 and with the developments of Agenda 2000, the main objectives are:

  1. restore competitiveness to agricultural production on domestic and world markets through the reduction of prices of CMOs (Common Market Organizations);
  2. create alternative sources of income for agricultural workers;
  3. promote research, technological innovation and training;
  4. develop a new rural development policy (second pillar of the CAP);
  5. increase the weight of environmental and structural policies;
  6. improve the quality and safety of food products.

Dr. Antonella Di Matteo


Video: Brief Guide to the EU Common Agricultural Policy


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