The use of CAP impact indicators for policy evaluation

This post is written by Ulrich Koester and Jens-Peter Loy

According to new legislation, the European Commission (EC) is in charge of evaluating Pillar 1 measures of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), while Pillar 2 measures have to be evaluated by the Member States (MS). Pillar 1 measures are of utmost importance for EU expenditure, amounting to a share of about 40% of the total expenditure of the EU budget. The request for evaluation is a significant step forward. One may wonder whether this new task indicates that the measures of the CAP have not been evaluated regularly so far. In the following, we focus on one specific measure, direct payments, for two reasons.

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The intervention logic of the CAP

One of the innovations in the 2013 revision of the CAP Basic Acts was to extend a formal system of monitoring and evaluation of the CAP’s performance beyond Pillar 2 rural development, where it had been long-established, to also cover Pillar 1 direct payments and market management. This Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) was set out in Article 110 of the Horizontal Regulation. This requires the Commission to measure and assess the combined impact of all CAP instruments in relation to three common objectives set out in this Article.
The three objectives set out for the CAP (which essentially ‘reinterpret’ the objectives contained in Article 39 of the Lisbon Treaty) are:
• viable food production, with a focus on agricultural income, agricultural productivity and price stability;
• sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, with a focus on greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, soil and water;
• balanced territorial development, with a focus on rural employment, growth and poverty in rural areas.
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