9 July 2003
The costs of the Common Agricultural Policy
Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr Flynn and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was established with a number of specific aims borne out of the circumstances of post-war Europe. These included increasing agricultural productivity to provide a fair standard of living for agricultural producers, stabilising agricultural markets, assuring availability of supplies and ensuring reasonable prices to consumers.
Since then, agriculture and the world have changed. The number of people employed in the industry across the EU has fallen by two-thirds since 1970 and it employs only 5% of the EU workforce. Intensive methods of production have developed and Europe can now feed itself.
The challenges to the CAP from enlargement and WTO are well documented. It has become a policy dogged by controversy and problems. It operates in the interests of farmers, which it protects from the realities of market forces. A powerful farming lobby has stymied many attempts at reform and continuously demands more money to solve the problems of the industry. The policy now costs around £27 billion a year.
The costs of the CAP concern a number of different areas:
1. The developing world has suffered as a result of the CAP, where three-quarters of the world’s poor live and work in rural areas. Surpluses have been dumped on markets and restrictions have been placed on exports contributing to unemployment and poverty.
2. The financial cost to European taxpayers and the consumer. The CAP costs the average family of four £16 a week in the UK, not including the higher food prices created by the CAP, which adds £475 per year onto an average family’s food bill.
3. Provides for the substantial support of one industry to the detriment of others and is a burden on the economy of the European Union.
4. The loss of habitat and species as a result of intensive farming methods and chemicals encouraged by the CAP.
Concludes that the Parliamentary Assembly should investigate the cost of the CAP to:
- the developing world;
- the taxpayer and consumer;
- other industries and the economy of the European Union;
- the environment.
Flynn, United Kingdom, SOC
Açikgöz, Turkey, EDG
Chapman, United Kingdom, EDG
Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC
Ilascu, Romania, NR
Jurić, Croatia, LDR
Kužvart, Czech Republic, SOC
Libicki, Poland, EDG
Lobkowicz, Czech Republic, EPP/CD
Loxančić, Bosnia and Herzegovina, NR
Meale, United Kingdom, SOC
Milojević, Bosnia and Herzegovina, EPP/CD
Pavlidis, Greece, EPP/CD
Pullicino Orlando, Malta, EPP/CD
Timmermans, Belgium, SOC
Velikov, Bulgaria, LDR
1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
EDG: European Democratic Group
LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group