The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) represents nearly 40% of the EU budget and remains a highly controversial policy. This sizeable slice of the budget remains largely untargeted and inequalities in payment distribution persist. The 2013 CAP reform therefore represents a valuable opportunity to orient the agricultural sector towards 21st century objectives.
As the institution directly representing the interests of EU citizens, and with increased decision-making powers, the EP could now move the CAP reform debate beyond national agricultural interests and budgetary disputes. Failure to do so, argues the author, would discredit the EP in this field and strengthen the already widespread scepticism about the CAP, not to mention the dramatic consequences that maintaining the status quo would have for agriculture as a strategic resource management activity.
Author Louise Knops is a Research Assistant at CEPS.