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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


How to Reform the Common Agricultural Policy

[Cover of How to Reform the Common Agricultural Policy]

European Rural Communities Paper 1

Jack Thurston with an introduction by Chris Haskins

RSPB, Tesco

September 2002

Download the report (740 kilobyte PDF)

The Common Agricultural Policy has come to represent all the failings for which the European Union is criticised. It's bureaucratic, expensive, wasteful, undemocratic, open to fraud and stubbornly resistant to change. CAP reform holds the key to enlargement of the EU and a successful round of WTO negotiations. With radical proposals now on the agenda in Brussels, the time for reform has never been better.

For years European policy circles have been debating alternative ways of supporting farming and rural areas, and a model for reform is clear. The question is how to get there.

This report examines the distinctive politics of CAP reform: who wins and who loses; what are the key drives for change; why some countries are in favour and others against; where does power and influence lie. The report presents an accessible road map for reform and sets out practical steps to help reformers achieve their goals.

Jack Thurston was a political adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food until June 2001.

Chris Haskins is former Chairman of Northern Foods and has advised the British and Irish governments on rural recovery.