(EU Fact Sheets
new Common Agricultural and Fisheries Objectives
Rural Development policy 2007-2013
20 February 2006 the Agriculture Council adopted EU strategic guidelines
for rural development - five months after the adoption of the Council
Regulation on support for rural development by the new European
Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
guidelines set out a strategic approach and a range of options which
Member States could use in their national strategy plans and Rural
the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, Rural Development is playing
an increasingly important role in helping rural areas to meet the
economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Rural
areas make up 90 percent of the territory of the enlarged EU and the new
legal framework points more clearly to the direction of boosting growth
and creating jobs in rural areas – in line with the Lisbon
– and improving sustainability - in line with the Götenborg
future Rural Development policy 2007-2013 will focus on three areas in
line with the three thematic axes laid down in the new rural development
regulation: improving competitiveness for farming and forestry;
environment and countryside; improving quality of life and diversification
of the rural economy. A fourth axis called "Leader axis" based
on experience with the Leader
introduces possibilities for locally based bottom-up approaches to rural
new programming period provides a unique opportunity to refocus support
from the new rural development fund on growth, jobs and sustainability.
European legal framework being established Member States can now elaborate
their national strategy plans and rural development programmes before
submitting them to the European Commission.
each set of priorities, the EU strategic guidelines are suggesting key
actions. Member States shall prepare their national rural development
strategies on the basis of six community strategic guidelines, which will
identify the areas where the use of EU support for
rural development creates the most value added at EU level;
make the link with the main EU priorities (Lisbon, Göteborg)
ensure consistency with other EU policies, in
particular cohesion and environment;
accompany the implementation of the new market
orientated CAP and the necessary restructuring it will entail in the
old and new Member States.
six strategic guidelines are:
Improving the competitiveness
of the agricultural and forestry sectors
Improving the environment and
Improving the quality of life
in rural areas and encouraging diversification
Building Local Capacity for
Employment and Diversification
Translating priorities into
a more sustainable agricultural production
agriculture in Europe is our means of ensuring that future generations can
enjoy the benefits of Europe's unique environmental heritage and natural
resources, as we do today.
sustainability, however, means meeting three challenges:
an economic challenge (by strengthening the viability
and competitiveness of the agricultural sector);
a social challenge (by improving the living conditions
and economic opportunities in rural areas);
and an ecological challenge (by promoting good
environmental practices as well as the provision of services linked to
the maintenance of habitats, biodiversity and landscape).
agricultural production must also reflect the concerns of consumers,
particularly as regards quality, safety and traditional/organic production
the environmental dimension of the CAP includes at one level measures to improve
the environmental soundness of agricultural production (e.g.
investing in improved technology, promoting extensification). On the
other, it means measures securing
the function of farmers as stewards of the countryside and to
encourage them to actively preserve the rich rural landscape and
the core of the Community's agri-environmental strategy within the CAP are
targeted measures which reward farmers for environmental services in rural
areas, over and above good agricultural practice and environmental
legislation. The inclusion of such measures into all rural development
programmes implemented by Member States is compulsory.
should not be thought that more environmentally friendly agriculture means
old-fashioned methods. For example, organic
farming (one form of sustainable
farming) uses modern, yet natural, plant-protection methods, which avoid
the use of pesticides. Research carried out in universities and
agricultural institutes has a key role to play in promoting innovative
farming techniques that meet environmental, health and quality standards.
quality in all its aspects
some years now, European consumers' choices have tended to favour
healthier and more flavoursome food of higher nutritional value, produced
by more environmentally friendly methods. The guiding principle behind
this development is quality: in this complex concept, vital issues
are at stake.
question of definition
what does 'quality' mean in this context? Food safety is, of
course, the prime condition for food quality and an absolute,
non-negotiable must. This is also true of compliance with legally
established standards for the environment and animal welfare
since they relate to the protection of natural resources and requirements
of an ethical nature, in addition to the characteristics of the products.
Although food's nutritional value is subject to rules on labelling,
this is more relative, being linked to eating habits. Other aspects of
quality are optional because they have a subjective component and depend
on consumer preferences; there are, for instance, flavour, smell and
appearance. Some products also have an added value because they are
produced in a particular region or by a traditional method (quality
labels) or because their production
methods pay special attention to the environment and animal welfare (e.g. organic
area for legislating
Community's legislative activity in this area is considerable, although it
has been directed at very different levels depending on the type and
urgency of the problems. Legislation in the food safety field started in
the 1960s, grew more intense in the 1990s with the advent of the single
market, and, since 1994, has focused on combating bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE). The 1992 and 1999 CAP reforms emphasised agri-environmental
measures and aid for extensification, and also in 1992 there was the
introduction of European quality labels. Community legislation cannot and
should not take over entirely from that of the Member States and attempt
to cover all aspects of quality; rather, it should seek to work in tandem
on pursuing a policy to foster quality.
and animal welfare: policy objectives
Treaty of Amsterdam, in force since 1st May 1999, lays out new ground
rules for the actions of the European Union (EU) on animal welfare in a
special “Protocol on the Protection and Welfare of Animals". It
recognises that animals are sentient beings and obliges the European
Institutions to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals
when formulating and implementing Community legislation.
protocol indicates the responsibility of the EU to legislate in improving
the welfare of animals and in preventing cruelty against animals and their
mistreatment in areas covered by the Treaty (such as agriculture). In
other areas not covered by the Treaty the EU has no competence so that
these issues remain under the sole responsibility of the Member States
(e.g. the use of animals in competitions, shows, cultural or sporting
events such as bullfighting, dog-fighting and dog-racing).
new Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe signed on 29 October
2004 by the Heads of State or Government of the 25 Member States and the 3
acceding and candidate countries also retain the commitment to ensuring
the protection of animals. Article III 121 provides that the Union and the
Member States shall pay full regard to the requirements of animal welfare
in formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries,
transport, internal market, research and technological development and
space policies. This will be done while respecting the legislative or
administrative provisions and customs of Member States relating in
particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and religious
Strategic Priorities of the White Paper are:
create a European Food Safety Authority
consistently implement a farm to table approach in food legislation
establish the principle that feed and food operators have primary
responsibility for food safety; that Member States need to ensure
surveillance and control of these operators; that the Commission shall
test the performance of Member States' control capacities and capabilities
through audits and inspections
controls for better consumer protection
EU has build up a significant body of laws on food
welfare and plant
health which are binding in all countries of the Union and
which partially apply to non-EU countries exporting animals, animal
products, plants and plant products to the EU.
While the primary responsibility for ensuring that these laws are
respected rests with the fifteen Member States, the Commission shares
responsibility by ensuring that these EU laws are applied by the Member
States. It fulfils this responsibility through the Food
and Veterinary Office which was established in April 1997. The
Office carries out audits and on-the-spot checks on food safety controls
in the Member States and in countries exporting to the EU and reports its
findings and recommendations to national and EU authorities and to the
Food Safety Authority (EFSA), legally established in 2002,
provides independent scientific advice on all matters linked to food and
feed safety - including animal health and welfare and plant protection -
and provides scientific advice on nutrition in relation to Community
legislation. The Authority communicates to the public in an open and
transparent way on all matters within its remit. EFSA's risk assessments
provide risk managers (consisting of EU institutions with political
accountability, i.e. European Commission, European Parliament and Council)
with a sound scientific basis for defining policy driven legislative or
regulatory measures required to ensure a high level of consumer protection
with regards to food safety.
does it work and how much does it cost?
has been one of the flagship areas of European collaboration since the
early days of the European Community.
negotiations on the creation of a Common Market, France insisted on a
system of agricultural subsidies as its price for agreeing to free trade
in industrial goods.
ensure fair living standards for the agricultural community
ensure availability of food
provide food at reasonable prices
Treaty of Rome, article 39
Common Agricultural Policy began operating in 1962, with the Community
intervening to buy farm output when the market price fell below an agreed
target level. This helped reduce Europe's reliance on imported food but
led before long to over-production, and the creation of
"mountains" and "lakes" of surplus food and drink.
Community also taxed imports and (from the 1970s onward) subsidised
agricultural exports. These policies have been damaging for foreign
farmers, and made Europe's food prices some of the highest in the world.
European leaders were alarmed at the high cost of the CAP as early as
1967, but radical reform began only in the 1990s.
aim has been to break the link between subsidies and production, to
diversify the rural economy and to respond to consumer demands for safe
food, and high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection.
much does it cost?
cost of the CAP can be measured in two ways: there is the money paid out
of the EU budget, and the cost to the consumer of higher food prices.
EU spent 49bn euros (£33bn) on agriculture in 2005 (46% of the budget),
while the OECD estimates the extra cost of food in 2003 at 55bn euros. The
CAP budget has been falling as a proportion of the total EU budget for
many years, as European collaboration has steadily extended into other
areas. It has been falling as a proportion of EU GDP since 1985.
member states agreed in 2002 that expenditure on agriculture (though not
rural development) should be held steady in real terms between 2006 and
2013, despite the admission of 10 new
members in 2004. This
means that the money paid to farmers in older member states will begin to
decline after 2007. Overall, they will suffer a 5% cut in the 2007-13
Romania and Bulgaria are paid out of the same budget when they join in
2007 or 2008, that will entail a further cut of 8% or 9%, the Commission
says. Agricultural expenditure declined slightly in 2004, as compared with
2003 but has jumped in 2005 as a result of the admission of 10 new
members. Under the European
Commission's budget proposals for 2007-13, it will peak in 2008/2009, in nominal terms, then
decline until 2013
gets the money?
is by far the biggest recipient of CAP funds.
It received 22% of the total, in 2004. Spain, Germany and Italy each
received between 12% and 15%. In each case, their share of subsidies was
roughly equivalent to their share of EU agricultural output.
and Greece on the other hand received a share of subsidies that was much
larger than their share of EU agricultural output - twice as large in
Ireland's case. The
subsidies they received amounted to about 1.5% of gross national income,
compared to an EU average of 0.5%. The new member states began receiving
CAP subsidies in 2004, but at only 25% of the rate they are paid to the
older member states. However, this rate is slowly rising and will reach
equality in 2013. Poland, with 2.5m farmers, is likely then to be a
significant recipient of funds.
of the CAP money goes to the biggest farmers - large agribusinesses and
sugar company Tate and Lyle was the biggest recipient of CAP funds in the
UK in 2005, raking in £127m (186m euro). It
has been calculated that 80% of the funds go to just 20% of EU farmers,
while at the other end of the scale, 40% of farmers share just 8% of the
is the money spent?
1992, most of the CAP budget was spent on price support: farmers were guaranteed a minimum price for their crop - and the more
they produced, the bigger the subsidy they received.
rest was spent on export subsidies
- compensation for traders who sold agricultural goods to foreign buyers
for less than the price paid to European farmers. But in 1992 the EU began
to dismantle the price support system, reducing guaranteed prices and
compensating farmers with a "direct payment" less closely
related to levels of production. Cereal farmers were obliged to take a
proportion of their land out of cultivation in the "set-aside"
1995, the EU also started paying rural development aid, designed to
diversify the rural economy and make farms more competitive. Additional
reforms in 2003 and 2004 further "decoupled" subsidies from
production levels and linked payments to food safety, animal welfare, and
three areas - sugar, wine, fruit and vegetables - have yet to be reformed.
Further reform of the dairy sector is planned for the period after 2014.
development funding, which currently accounts for about 13% of the total
agriculture budget, is set to increase to 25% before the end of the
In international trade negotiations,
the EU has offered to cut all export subsidies, as long as other countries
do so too. Big cuts in import tariffs are also being discussed.
Who gets what?
crops initially supported by the CAP reflected the climates of the six
founding members (France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries).
beef/veal and dairy products still account for the lion's share of CAP
funding, but the southern enlargements of the 1980s brought new crops into
the system. Cotton farmers received 873m euros in 2003, tobacco farmers
got 960m euros, and silkworm producers 400,000 euros.
to olive farmers in 2003 (at 2.3bn euros) were larger than those to fruit
and vegetable farmers (1.5bn euros), sugar producers (1.3bn euros) or wine
producers (1.2bn euros).
of milk and sugar are subject to quotas, which they must not exceed. Wine
is a special case: the EU provides funds to convert surpluses into brandy
or fuel - a process known as crisis distillation - and payments to replace
poor quality with high quality vines.
benefits from all of this?
argue that the CAP costs too much and benefits relatively few people.
Only 5% of EU citizens - 10 million
people - work in agriculture, and the sector generates just 1.6% of EU
of the CAP say it guarantees the
survival of rural communities - where more than half of EU citizens live -
and preserves the traditional appearance of the countryside.
add that most developed countries provide financial support to farmers,
and that without a common policy some EU countries would provide more than
others, leading to pressure for
trade barriers to be reintroduced. The importance of farming to the
national economy varies from one EU country to another. In Poland, 18% of
the population works in agriculture, compared with less than 2% in the UK
and Belgium. In Greece, agriculture accounts for more than 5% of GDP,
whereas in Sweden the figure is just 0.6%. The number of people working on
farms roughly halved in the 15 older EU member states between 1980 and
2003. About 2% of farmers leave the industry every year across the EU,
though falls of more than 8% were registered between 2002 and 2003 in the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the UK. At
the same time, the average age of farmers is rising. In 2000, more than
half of individual farmers in the 15 countries that then made up the EU
were aged 55 or over. Farmers and their employees often work very long
hours for little money. Many farms would be
The ‘mountains’ are starting to