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Agricultural policy and rural development

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When the financial perspectives for 2007-13 were adopted in 2005, the European Council mandated the European Commission to “undertake a complete re-examination of all aspects of EU spending, including the Common Agricultural Policy, in addition to resources, including the United Kingdom’s rebate, and to make a report in 2008-09“. In the ensuing weeks the Jacques Delors Institute launched its research programme “CAP post-2013“ in order to make propositions for reforming the CAP, with the aim of adopting new financial perspectives not covered by the Chirac-Schroeder accord of 2003 (which aimed to protect CAP spending until 2013).

The Jacques Delors Institute, believing in the necessity of retaining an agricultural policy at EU level, has sought to propose a thoroughgoing reform of this policy. Following two years of work and discussions, in May 2008 the Jacques Delors Institute published its propositions for reforming the CAP. The report is centred on three priorities:

· apply to the CAP general principles of sound management of public policy, such as transparency and simplicity

· improve the CAP’s coherence with other EU policies (environment, competition, cooperation with poor countries)

· adapt the CAP to contemporary challenges

The report was written by agricultural economists Jean-Christophe Bureau and Louis-Pascal Mahé and gave rise to a series of debates in several EU countries featuring national agricultural decision-makers (ministers) and community actors (NGOs, trade unions, researchers).

It proposes a three-stage analysis:

· changes in the agricultural context and new preoccupations since 2003

· a critical assessment of reforms undertaken since 1993

· propositions for a new CAP after 2013 based on a new conceptual framework, concerning the management of markets and risks, price volatility and income instability, the environmental impact of agriculture, rural development and financial responsibility

A series of publications complemented this analysis by covering subjects not fully dealt with, including: the agricultural budget; the European food programme; the concept of European solidarity and the CAP; institutional issues arising from the agricultural debate; and the management of rural development programmes. In 2012 the Jacques Delors Institute published two analyses of the CAP reform proposition published on 12 October 2011 by the European Commission.

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