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01 Sep 2002

Towards a Sustainable European Agricultural Policy for the 21st Century

Johan F.M. Swinnen

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The debate on agricultural policy in the EU has been very lively and politically prominent over the past months. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU has undergone major changes since it was first implemented at the end of the 1960s. Commentators suggest that the CAP changes made in the Agenda 2000 reform package were insufficient to address the problems facing the CAP in the coming years. These include enlargement, new trade negotiations and the demand by European society for a safe, sustainable agri-food system, to name but a few.
This report highlights the most pressing challenges to creating a sustainable CAP for the 21st century. It focuses on strategic policy options that are closely linked to the CAP system to be ‘hands on’; but the report refrains from becoming too specific on policy details, focusing instead on the important strategic questions. It offers six recommendations for good governance, that aim to remove bureaucratic constraints from the food industry, yet strengthen consistency and good practice.

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