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Common Agricultural Policy

Future UK agricultural policy outside of the EU is being set in place through the UK Agriculture Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. One key part of it is going to be the Environmental Land Management Scheme, known as ELMS. It is notable that in contrast to the current form of the UK Agriculture Bill, the Common Agricultural Policy stresses the focus on food production over public goods, and not the reverse. One demonstration of this was Commission Hogan’s speech in February 2019, where he posed the question "As well as adequate food supply, which additional public goods should the CAP provide in exchange for its privileged position in the EU budget?"

The preparations for the new Common Agricultural Policy in the EU are of course ongoing. It will come into effect following the end of the 2014-2020 CAP period, and is to be based on the following nine objectives:-

  • to ensure a fair income to farmers
  • to increase competiveness
  • to rebalance the power in the food chain
  • climate change action
  • environmental care
  • to preserve landscapes and biodiversity
  • to support generational renewal
  • vibrant rural areas
  • to protect food and health quality

One of the defining features of this new Common Agricultural Policy is that it will no longer be particularly ‘common’. In recognition of the huge variation in needs across the Member States, and greater speed needed to respond to challenges, the European Union plans to put in place basic policy parameters (such as objectives of the CAP) and the Member States bear greater responsibility and accountability for how the objectives are met through locally tailored efforts.