Reflections of CAP strategic planning in times of corona

We are pleased to welcome this guest post from Emil Erjavec, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The current pause in the ‘normal’ functioning of mankind and the European Union in general offers an opportunity to reconsider the functioning of institutions and design of public policies. The battle with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its associated COVID-19 disease has brought to the forefront the importance of employing knowledge and an evidence-based approach as a basis for public decision-making.

It has also opened a window of opportunity to combat another illness, the prevalent political pragmatism and interest-based nature of policies in general and the Common Agricultural Policy in particular.… Read the rest

CAP strategic planning: scope and implications

We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Emil Erjavec, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Policy and Law at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is a version of his keynote speech to be delivered at the “The future of the CAP – L’avenir de la PAC” conference organised by Société Française d’Économie Rurale at Montpellier Supagro on 22 June 2018.

In December 2017, the European Commission published a Communication announcing a new round of important changes to the CAP post-2020; its legislative proposals, published June 1st 2018, have officially initiated it. Whether these changes are truly far-reaching and whether they contribute to a more efficient, effective and less controversial policy, will largely depend on the result of inter-institutional negotiations and later national implementation.… Read the rest

The CAP Communication: Paradigmatic change or empty rhetoric?

The following guest post was written by Professor Emil Erjavec, Professor of Agricultural Policy and Ilona Rac, researcher, at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The European Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming stands apart from all its predecessors. Rather than being a conceptual presentation of new mechanisms, as has been the norm since 1997, the document focuses on new political priorities and broad areas of intervention. We are presented with a range of new and not-so-new emphases arising from a number of EU strategies, a public consultation on the future of the CAP and various position papers presented by Member States and interest groups.… Read the rest

Back to the CAP's future: An interest- or evidence-based policy?

In May 2016, at an informal AGRIFISH Council meeting, the Dutch Presidency will discuss the CAP post-2020. A mere 2.5 years after the last reform (finalised in December 2013) and just after the first execution of the new First Pillar payments and Rural Development Programme schemes in 2015, a new round of discussions about the rationale, goals, measures and impacts, of the CAP is already beginning; in effect, a new CAP reform.

Entering the first phase of reform, we may assume that the formation of political decisions and new legislation will take place in familiar stages. In the first stage, everything goes; it is marked by diverse and opposing opinions of Member States, think-tanks, interest groups and individuals.… Read the rest

The Reform of the CAP: One Year After

Almost exactly a year ago the legislative bodies of the European Union accepted 4 new key Regulations that will determine the next period’s CAP. The Commission presented this reform, utilizing the label ‘Greening’, as a shift of paradigm and an introduction of certain other important changes in both the goals and the instruments of European agricultural policy. The essence of the new reform was to find a new justification for and mechanisms of agricultural policy. The reform, which took place in times of economic crisis, was accepted after the Lisbon treaty; as such it was characterized by a new form of legislation which equalized the roles of the European Parliament and Council as key legislators.… Read the rest

EIP: has the role of knowledge in agriculture been rediscovered?

It is believed by experts and also somehow confirmed by statistics that the European agriculture is losing a battle with international competition in the field of food production. Although the situation is by no means identical everywhere in Europe, an objective observer cannot help concluding that the European agro-food sector has been stagnating; even the Common agricultural policy itself is based on the assumption that agriculture “needs to get” income supports because it is uncompetitive. In some Member States and sectors, substantial direct payments under the Pillar I of CAP even exceed the level of generated income on the market. Thus, it no longer means only a compensation for the lack of competitiveness, but also gives a wrong signal to producers and has negative development consequences.… Read the rest

Gunfight for CAP Budget Money

It has been clear for some time that most of the key issues of the CAP reform will be negotiated upon in the framework of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) by foreign ministers and heads of state of the EU Member States. The Danish Presidency prepared a special document – a Negotiating Box, which should define all the negotiating issues and facilitate the conclusion of negotiations. The negotiations have thus started to heat up, negotiators have presented their arguments and formed the clubs of like-minded countries. Before the negotiations culminate, expectedly at the turn of 2013, we shall try to define the positions of individual actors on the key issues and speculate on the possible outcome of negotiations on the basis of the available sources (Agra Europe, Agra Focus, internal positions of Member States).… Read the rest

Why no “Green Revolution” in new Member States?


Competitiveness and innovation in the agriculture of new Member States before EU accession can be assessed as relatively poor. In a part of the area, the situation even resembled the situation in developing countries. In the parts where a certain level of development was achieved, i.e. closer to the Central Europe part of EU, extreme structural deficits were perceived. There was an obvious need for a development policy that would support restructuring and enable a new development cycle of agriculture.

Strong RD funding for modernisation of farms

Comprehensive European resources from the pre-accession and accession rural development funds were thus of great help.… Read the rest

Greening of the CAP: is the “Emperor Naked”?

Greening of direct payments is the focal point of the Commission’s legislative proposal. By this measure, Commissioner Dacian Ciolos substantiates the reform orientation and greater target orientation of the proposed new Common Agricultural Policy. Out of all funds for direct payments, 30 % would be allocated to fulfilling the environmental conditions, which is EUR 12.5 billion annually and five times more than the amount of funds for the agri-environmental measures under the current rural development policy.  The impact of agriculture on the environment is undisputable; we economists understand it through the concept of externalities or public goods, as something that cannot be regulated societally correctly by market forces.… Read the rest

New CAP income payment could produce new policy failures

The new CAP reform has been promoted by its creators as being more target-oriented and better adjusted to what the public expects from the funds invested in agriculture. To meet these expectations and particularly to preserve as much funds for agriculture as possible, the first pillar direct payments have been veiled under various new support schemes. The most important ones are the basic payment scheme and its “greening” component. Let us focus on the basic payment, which will take up from 43 to 55 per cent of the direct payments envelope.

Politics trumps economics

The aim of the basic payment is unify the payments among the Member States and at the same time provide a kind of income support to agriculture.… Read the rest