Last month, the agricultural ministers of the European Union agreed to significant reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy governing member states. In an email interview, Wyn Grant, a political scientist with research interests in agricultural policy and the European Union, explained the main reforms and how they will be implemented.
WPR: What are the main reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy included in the proposal adopted by the Council of the European Union last month?
Wyn Grant: It is important to note that the CAP budget proposed for 2014-2020 will be about $20 billion below what the European Commission wanted, at roughly $472 billion: $360 billion for the first “pillar” of the CAP, namely direct market support to EU producers in the form of subsidies, and roughly $110 billion for the rural development programs that form the second of the policy’s two pillars. This is likely to mean cuts of 5 percent in the main subsidy payment, the single farm payment, this year. Under the council agreement, rural development spending will be around $9 billion less than proposed, but the blow will be softened for many member states, which will get “special” pillar two funding as well as their share of the remaining pillar two pot.