Hacking the CAP – Options to redesign the European Agricultural Policy

Krijn J. Poppe


In 2020 the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union has to be renewed. This raises the question which policy would be optimal for the 3rd decade of the century, seen the changes in agriculture (decline in the number of farmers, effect of ict and other new technologies, concentration in the food chain etc.) and public issues that ask for solutions (climate change, sustainability, need for jobs and growth in rural development, food policy etc.)
The history of the CAP has shown that policy changes are often incremental. Some argue that especially in 2020 changes will be small as the term of the policy is out of sync with the budget cycle (important decisions on the CAP are not taken without a decision on the EU’s financial framework) and as the CAP decision will be at the moment that the current commissioners hand over their mandate to their successors. However this should not prevent scholars from coming up with fresh ideas on how the policy could be made more effective and efficient for a resilient agriculture and food and nutrition security in a sustainable environment.
To do so, this paper takes the view that the CAP is a bundle of policy instruments to reach several policy objectives, that not necessarily are consistent or have synergies but where trade-offs exist. That means that Tinbergen’s rule applies: achieving the desired values of a certain number of policy targets requires the policy maker to control an equal number of instruments.
In our analysis we re-interpret Article 33 of the Treaty of the European Union (that defines the CAP) in current policy objectives and specific targets. We then look for the most effective policy instruments for each of these targets. We discuss synergies between instruments in the execution of the policy. To test the robustness of these policy targets and instruments we stress-test them against three scenario’s for the future of agriculture and the food system: High Tech, Self-Organisation and Collapse. These three scenarios have been published by the EU’s Standing Committee on Agricultural Research’s strategic working group AKIS (Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems).
This leads to a redesigned CAP, fit for the 3rd decade of this century, as robust as possible for external scenario’s on agriculture. Finally we discuss the discrepancy between the current CAP and our suggestions for the redesigned CAP.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2016.1618

ISSN 2194-511X


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License