Common Agricultural Policy: how does the EU support farmers? | News

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What is the General Agricultural Policy?

The European Union supports farming through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Established in 1962, it has made several reforms to make agriculture equitable and more sustainable for farmers.

There are about 10 million farms in the EU and the agriculture and food sectors together provide about 40 million jobs in the EU.

How is the General Agricultural Policy financed?

The Common Agricultural Policy is funded through the EU budget. Under the EU budget for 2021–2027, €386.6 billion has been set aside for farming. It is divided into two parts:

  • €291.1 billion for the European Agriculture Guarantee Fund, which provides income support for farmers
  • €95.5 billion for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, which includes funding for rural areas, climate action and the management of natural resources.

What does EU agriculture look like today?

Farmers and the agriculture sector were affected by COVID-19 and the EU introduced specific measures to support industry and income. Existing rules on how CAP funds should be spent until 2023 due to delay in budget negotiations. This required a transitional agreement to protect farmers’ incomes and ensure food security.

Will the reform mean a more environmentally friendly general agricultural policy?

Agriculture accounts for about 10% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. After reaching an agreement with the Council, MEPs said the reform should lead to an environmentally friendly, fair and transparent EU agricultural policy. Parliament wants to link the CAP to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, while increasing support for young farmers and small and medium-sized farms. Parliament will vote on the final deal in 2021 and it will come into force in 2023.

Agricultural policy is aligned with the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy, which aims to protect the environment and ensure healthy food for all, while ensuring farmers’ livelihoods.

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