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Citation suggestion: Marko Lovec, ML (2023). Common Agricultural Policy: Reformist Context, Veto Players and Symbolic Change. Future Europe, 3(1), 64–72.


The past three decades have seen the European Union (EU) reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to make it less trade distorting and better oriented towards social expectations regarding environmental and social sustainability. However, apart from the change in declared objectives and policy mechanisms, the change in actual impact has been limited. Using the 2021 CAP reform as an example, this study argues that such incremental policy change has been caused by decision-making rules and procedures biased towards the status quo. Leading up to the 2021 CAP reform, EU institutions engaged in negotiations for more than three years. The parallel negotiations over the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), where the CAP accounts for 38% of the EU’s total budget, were strained as a result of the United Kingdom’s (UK) departure as its largest net contributor because of veto-based procedures, which prevented any substantial change in the distribution of CAP funds. In addition, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and the European Parliament, as colegislators, weakened several of the European Commission’s reformist proposals, including those that pertain to the European Green Deal agenda. The article asserts that a more substantial CAP reform could be attained by autonomising negotiations over agriculture and food from those on the EU’s budget and raising awareness of the European Parliament’s colegislator role. 

Introduction: Plus ça change…  

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the European Union’s (EU) costliest and most controversial policies. Enacted in 1962 as part of the deal on the European Economic Community (EEC) between German industrial interests and French agricultural interests, the CAP has been pivotal in European integration and has remained largely unchanged until the 1980s. From the 1980s to the 2010s, EU institutions gradually replaced price and production support with direct payments to align the CAP with the new multilateral trade rules, pressures to curb the CAP’s budget and new societal expectations regarding environmental protection, rural development and food.  

However, despite this shift in formal CAP objectives and instruments, changes in fund distribution and policy impact remain limited.i Direct payments continue to support intensive production, increase land prices and hamper the sector’s restructuring, including generation renewal. As much as 85% of direct payments are allocated to 20% of the biggest producers and landowners, putting additional pressure on small and mid-sized family farms.ii  

This study asserts that CAP reform has been incremental because of decision-making rules and procedures that enabled conservative status quo players to impede certain changes, such as the replacement of direct payments with less distorting measures, that would better fulfil goals associated with food, climate, biodiversity, animal welfare and rural development. Specifically, parallel negotiations on Multiannual Financial Frameworks (MFFs), where the CAP accounted for 40%–50% of the bloc’s expenditures and where decisions are made by consent, prevented any major distributive change and affected CAP substance through package deals over MFF and CAP regulations. In addition, the colegislation procedure introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) allowed the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and the European Parliament to change more easily the legislative proposals by the European Commission, which has typically been the most reform-oriented EU institution.iii  

This study is based on a literature review of past reforms and empirical research on the 2021 CAP regulation reform, which was affected by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK), the largest net contributor to the CAP budget, adding pressure on MFF negotiations and making it more difficult to reach a consensus on substantive change. The European Commission used the European Green Deal (EGD) to advance environmental issues in agriculture via two strategies, Farm to Fork (F2F), which aims to reform the EU’s agricultural and food policy, and the Biodiversity Strategy, which addresses the EU’s environmental policy. However, the reformist impact of the EGD on the CAP was constrained by the veto players in the MFF and CAP negotiations, potentially weakening the impact of the 2023 reform.  

The policy relevance of this article lies in its assertion that a more substantial reform could be attained by autonomising negotiations on the CAP from those on the budget and focusing more on the role of the European Parliament in the process. 

Explaining and understanding CAP reforms 

Policy change generally takes place for two reasons: (a) changes in the contexts that shape actor preferences and positions and (b) changes in representation and decision-making institutions affecting the prospects of a policy change. Additionally, context change can also refer to the shifting of ideas through which contexts are interpreted. 

According to the academic literature,iv three main factors have affected CAP reforms: trade changes, budget changes and new societal expectations. Scholars have also identified four types of institutional drivers: changes in voting rules and procedures, changes in the policy network, the path dependency of the reform process and the individual quality of reform agents. From the perspective of idea changes, public policy studies have focused on the replacement of protectionist with neoliberal and multifunctional discourses. The way these factors shaped CAP reforms will be explained more thoroughly.  

Reform contexts 

The first reform factor is a change in the EU’s trade policy agenda with third countries.v At its inception, the CAP mainly consisted of supportive measures for the prices of commodities, such as cereals, milk and beef. However, as a result of these support mechanisms, production was incentivised. When the EEC became self-sufficient in the production of food in the 1980s, budget sources were increasingly needed to prevent a decline in their prices, triggering pressure from net contributors to the CAP’s budget. The increased use of export subsidies to dump overproduction on the global markets caused a heavy distortion of global markets and a trade war with other large exporters such as the United States. Ideas to reduce price supports or introduce production quotas triggered tensions between big and small producers, between different sectors and between member states with different production structures.  

In the context of the Uruguay round of negotiations on agriculture under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the 1992 MacSharry reform reduced guaranteed price levels and introduced budget-funded compensatory payments that accounted for price difference and was applicable up to the past production volume. The MacSharry reform anticipated the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (URAA) of 1994, which aimed to gradually eliminate price and production supports. In 1999, to address the expected deepening of the trade regime, the Agenda 2000 reform further reduced price supports, bringing main commodity prices to global levels and accordingly increased compensatory payments. In 2001, the launch of the Doha Development Round (DDR) under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) went parallel with the 2003 CAP reform, which removed the requirement to produce in order to be entitled to “direct payments”, also known as “decoupling”. Member states could now decide to implement historical (per-farm) or per-area payments. The 2008 Health Check reform integrated the remaining market supports into the direct-payments scheme. Since the late 2000s the international trade negotiations stalled. In this context, the EU institutions recoupled a small part of the supports in 2013. They used food security concerns as a pretext. At the same time, the EU rejected ideas to reintroduce some of the past market interventions. Market interventions were now understood merely as a “safety net” to correct major market distortions. 

The second major driver in the subsequent CAP reforms was the EU budget. The growing CAP expenditure caused blockades and delays in negotiations over annual budgets. As a remedy, in 1988, the EU introduced regulations defining budget sources and spending throughout multiyear periods (initially termed “financing perspectives” and later “MFFs”), which amplified the need for more predictable CAP spending as well as transparency and competition with other spending items. Initially, CAP reforms increased budget costs, but MFFs later helped stabilise expenses. The net contributors such as the UK, the Netherlands and Germany (to some extent) initially used growing expenditures to advocate reform. In contrast, later, the veto-based MFF negotiations made making changes to the CAP increasingly difficult as conservatives – the top recipients of CAP budget funds such as France, Spain and Italy – would obstruct any major change in the CAP. This resulted in package deals in which changes to both MFFs and the CAP are limited. 

The importance of MFF negotiations emerged from the context of the EU enlargement to the East, which was expected to increase expenditure and distribution.vi EU institutions, because of decision-making constraints and growing diversity of member states, made CAP gradually flexible over consecutive years by allowing member states to apply a variety of payment levels, models and support mechanisms. 

The third reform context involves new societal objectives contributing to the CAP’s paradigmatic shift.vii The EEC was focused on making the CAP an expression of agricultural exceptionalism whereas the EU sought to cleanse the CAP of its distorting measures and enable the provision of public goods that the market fails to produce but would benefit everyone and should thus be provided by public policy. The Agenda 2000 reform introduced Pillar II rural development measures. Whereas Pillar I addressed market interventions and direct supports paid on a historical basis, Pillar II accounted for structural support (such as investments for restructuring and payments for sustainable production practices) cofunded by EU member states as part of national rural development programmes. The 2003 Fischler reform conditioned direct payments upon compliance with various preexisting and new environmental regulations, with noncompliance resulting in a deduction of part of the payment. The 2003 reform also redistributed 5% of direct payments larger than €5,000 to the rural development fund, which was known as the “modulation”. The 2008 Health Check reform doubled the modulation level and introduced a 4% reduction of large payments over €300,000, thus addressing the issue of concentrated payments. The 2013 reform introduced area-based payments and reduced the gap between their levels within and between member states, known as payment “convergence”. The reform also made 30% of direct payments to larger beneficiaries conditional upon measures such as grassland preservation, crop diversification and ecological focus areas, which the European Commission described as “greening”. 

Reform institutions 

Some institutional factors were affected by CAP-specific changes, while other factors were part of broader ones, such as the revisions to the EU Treaty. The first institutional factor pertains to decision-making rules and procedures. The introduction of a qualified majority vote (QMV) and a change in the nomination of European Commissioners as part of the Single European Act of 1987 enhanced the European Commission’s ability to implement reforms. The European Commission’s agenda-setting powers were especially important when change was needed since only consensus among member states could influence the European Commission’s proposals.viii The Lisbon Treaty introduced the ordinary legislative procedure to the CAP, according to which both the Council of the EU and the European Parliament agree on the laws, which also enables both institutions to change the European Commission’s proposals more easily.ix Since the European Parliament at the time was less inclined towards introducing new requirements for farmers and more inclined towards increased flexibility than the European Commission, this resulted in weaker reform, as seen in the 2013 reform, the first being adopted under the Lisbon rules.x 

The second institutional change involves the policy network. As of the early 1990s, national farm ministers and lobby groups no longer played an exclusive role in public agricultural policy debates and were compelled to increasingly share public space with actors from trade, finance, environment and development. 

The third factor is the dependency of CAP reforms on past policy decisions. Successive changes were based on a specific preexisting policy reform, setting the precedent for future ones. For example, the Agenda 2000 reform strengthened the MacSharry reform, and the Health Check reform deepened the Fischler reform. EU institutions based their decision on the expected success of the new round of multilateral trade negotiations, which was not the case during these two reforms (Seattle and DDR negotiations failed).xi  

Finally, agency quality also played a role. Individual commissioners capitalised on changes in the policy environment and decision-making processes and on the European Commission’s more strategic position to push for a reformist agenda, leading to the MacSharry and Fischler reforms being named after commissioners Ray MacSharry and Franz Fischler, respectively (see Table 1). 

Table 1: CAP reforms, reform contexts and institutions 

 1990s reforms (1992 “MacSharry”, 1999 “Agenda 2000”) 2000s reforms (2003 “Fischler”, 2008 “Health Check”) 2010s reforms (2013 “2014–2020”) 
Market measures (Pillar I) Price supports replaced by compensatory payments Phased out Safety net 
Direct supports (Pillar I) Compensatory payments Introduction of direct payments Converging area-based payments and greening 
Structural supports (Pillar II) Introduction of Pillar II Cross-compliance, modulation and capping Flexibility to switch funds between pillars 
Trade  URAA DDR  
Budget   Eastern enlargement MFF 2000–2006 and 2007–2013 (-) MFF 2014–2020 (-) 
New expectations  Competitiveness, environmental and social objectives 
Institutions of representation and decision-making QMV and change in commission nomination procedure (+), path dependency (+), policy network (+), agency quality (+) Codecision procedure (-), path dependency (+) 
Legend: +/- = positive/negative impact. Source: based on Lovec, 2016. 

Reform ideas, rhetoric and discourses 

The reforms were implemented in the context of substantial changes in ideas and rhetoric. These ideas, which typically change over longer periods such as in between individual reforms, became more progressive and established a foundation for the new role of actors and institutions.xii Discourses legitimised certain actors, institutions and policies.xiii Ideas, rhetoric and discourses shifted from protectionism, which favoured farmers’ interest, to neoliberal discourse, which served to liberalise trade and finance, while justifying interventionism to pursue the provision of various agriculture-related functions (hence multi-functionalism) such as environmental protection, rural development and animal welfare. 

The 2021 CAP reform  

Negotiations surrounding CAP 2021–2027, which took three and a half years to complete, can be divided into three periods: (a) the publication of the initial proposals of the new MFF and CAP in 2017–2018 in the context of Brexit, (b) political changes after the 2019 European Parliament elections and Ursula Von der Leyen’s EGD agenda (which included strategies specific to agriculture and the Resilience and Recovery Fund (RRF) to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic) in 2019–2020 and (c) the inter- and intrainstitutional (trilogue) negotiations and agreements on the MFF and the new CAP between mid-2020 and mid-2021. 

The initial proposal 

Part of the commission’s proposal for the new MFF regulation for the 2021–2027 financial period included an approximately 5% nominal reduction in CAP funding.xiv The main novelty of the proposed CAP regulationsxv was a new governance model that would increase member states’ authority over certain measures and eligible entities. Concurrently, member states would have to draft national strategic plans and explain how they will achieve common EU-level objectives (Table 2) by accommodating policy measures, which include annual quantitative targets of common result indicators, similar to the existing policy programming of Pillar II. The commission would have to confirm such plans and oversee their progress, and failure to meet targets could trigger financial sanctions. Other notable proposals included changes in the “green architecture” involving the addition of new and potentially better-targeted measures on the conditionality and environmental elements of Pillar I, such as eco schemes that would be voluntary for farmers but compulsory for member states. Overall, 40% of CAP funds were to be used to address climate and environmental issues.xvi In addition, the commission proposed compulsory payment capping, increased flexibility to transfer funds from Pillar I to Pillar II, and increased member states’ cofunding for Pillar II. 

Table 2: The CAP’s specific objectives and instruments 

Principal funding source  Economic Environmental Social 
Pillar I Resilience  Climate Generation renewal 
Pillar II Competitiveness Natural resources Rural areas 
National Value chains Biodiversity  Food safety and quality 
Source: Own elaboration. 

The commission formulated its proposal in the context of stalled international trade negotiations and focused on less ambitious interregional agreements. Additionally, the UK’s departure created a massive €10 billion gap in the EU’s annual budget. This, along with multiple crises affecting the EU in previous years, also created a sense of constraining uniformity and led to ideas of differentiation, as detailed in the Juncker Commission’s white paper on the future of the EU. This was consistent with the criticism of the CAP 2014–2020 reform, which was rebuked by farmers and environmental NGOs because of its bureaucracy and poor environmental impact.xvii 

From an institutional perspective, the commission’s proposal was influenced by the veto setting of MFF negotiations where reformists would block increases in funds while conservatives would block reductions in direct payments. Thus, because the commission knew it would have to sacrifice more of Pillar II, it proposed an increase in national cofounding to save the structural measures, generally considered to be better targeted. With regard to the CAP reform, limited funding and conservative players in the council and the parliament left limited room for manoeuvring. The proposed new governance model was an attempt to increase member states’ flexibility and strengthen an evidence-based approach to steer policy towards increased effectiveness and efficiency. At the same time, the extension of programming to Pillar I would not produce radical changes in the policy because it would still confront the constraints of the existing policy evaluation applied to Pillar II, not to mention that the policy instruments were mostly maintained.xviii Other proposed changes such as the new environmental architecture could be characterised as an evolution rather than a revolution, allowing for higher flexibility and advancing measures with potentially stronger performance.  

Many of the proposed changes, such as the flexibility to transfer funds and the introduction of eco schemes, were supported not only by reformist Northern Member States but also by countries such as France and Spain, which had many producers operating under quality schemes who hardly received Pillar I payments. It was the new member states (NMS) that assumed the weakest position as they did not benefit from the full convergence of Pillar I payments with the EU average (especially Romania and Bulgaria, where area-based payments were still below the EU average) and would be affected by reduction of Pillar II funds. They also lacked a capacity for strategic planning and largely viewed new environmental 1requirements as additional costs. However, while net contributors blocked the increase in CAP spending in the MFF negotiations, on substantive issues NMS lacked a blocking minority in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. 

Change in the policy arena 

Delays in negotiations over Brexit slowed down negotiations over the new MFF; as a result, the legislative process was not completed before the 2019 European Parliament elections. This led to the extension of CAP 2014–2020 and the postponement of the implementation of the new CAP until 2023. xix 

The 2019 European Parliament elections saw the European People’s Party and Socialists and Democrats lose majority and the emergence of a new coalition that included the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE/Renew), which had been more reform-oriented. Greens also strengthened their position. Ursula von der Leyen, the leader of the new European Commission, put the EGD – a transformative growth plan that seeks to achieve climate neutrality and nature conservation – at the centre of her political programme. This included two agriculture-focused strategies – F2Fxx and the Biodiversity Strategyxxi – whose aims include a reduction in pesticide and fertiliser use, an increase in the share of farms and areas with organic farming, soil conservation, improved farm animal welfare and the utilisation of part of agricultural lands for nature conservation. The commission’s vice president, Frans Timmermans, headed the implementation of the strategies by DG Agri and, interestingly, DG Sante, whose competence in this area had been absent. The commission planned to advocate the integration of these targets in the national CAP strategic plans. In addition, the commission published a new MFF proposalxxii that included the RRF and the provision of additional funds for Pillar II measures targeting new objectives. Thus, the shift towards environmental issues strengthened reformist actors and broadened policy setting, which increased reform expectations paired with additional funds, thus breaking the existing deadlocks. 

Inter- and intrainstitutional negotiations and agreements 

In July 2020, the European Council reached an agreement on the new MFF and RRF, which largely preserved the CAP in nominal terms (with Pillar II being preserved based on RRF top-up). This demonstrated not only the role of veto-based budget negotiations in which reformists would oppose increases in finances and conservatives would block reductions in distributive (Pillar I) measures, but also that of the EGD and RRF, which helped preserve Pillar II. The financial agreement also touched upon substantive issues such as the increased flexibility to use direct payments to fund rural development measures (as well as to use Pillar II funds to increase direct payments) and the issue of capping the largest payments, which was rejected. The European Parliament had no power to amend the MFF and therefore accepted the deal. However, regarding the issue of capping, parliament warned that it expected some form of payment redistribution from the largest to medium-sized and small farms to support CAP reform.  

In autumn 2020, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and the parliament formulated their positions on substantive issues, with both taking a more conservative stance than the commission (see Table 3 for their positions on the main issues).xxiii In response, environmental NGOs raised criticism and Timmermans even threatened to retract the CAP proposal but faced opposition from the council (at the time led by German farm minister Julija Klockner) and the parliament (where the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development played a key role, which, because of diverging views, resulted in a split with the Committee of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, which for the first time exercised co-competence on environmental matters). 

After the formal enactment of the MFF and RRF, the trilogue was conducted in the first half of 2021 during Portugal’s presidency. For issues on which the three institutions disagreed, the parliament played a pivotal role in negotiations as seen in the final agreement (Regulation EU 2021/2115) (see Table 3).  

Table 3: Key differences in the triologue positions  

 European Commission Council of the EU European Parliament Final agreement 
Strategic plans: inclusion of EGD targets Inclusion of EGD targets  No Political inclusion Political inclusion 
Green architecture: Eco schemes earmark Compulsory for member states  20% of direct payments 30% of direct payments 25% of direct payments 
Capping €100,000 (labour costs included) Voluntary Some compulsory form of redistribution Some compulsory form of redistribution 
Source: Own elaboration. 

Already at the council level, negotiations demonstrated that the QMV allowed for a wider opportunity for reform as opposed to veto setting as seen in the overriding of the NMS on green architecture issues. Meanwhile, the colegislation procedure provided fewer opportunities for reform compared to the pre-Lisbon procedure as the council and the parliament simplified many of the commission’s initial proposals. Still, where the parliament had more reformist positions, it was able to influence the final deal. Moreover, compared to previous reforms, the parliament inserted more novel elements in the final agreement, including labour law compliance and gender equality elements, which were introduced for the first time in the CAP regulation.  

Discussion and conclusion: the future of the CAP beyond “old wine in new bottles” 

In 2023, the new CAP will enter into force; therefore, its impacts are yet to be seen. Strategic planning is not completely new because of the experience surrounding the Pillar II programming of the structural supports within the national rural development plans and the commission’s CAP monitoring and evaluation system. Nevertheless, this policy experiment has yet to confirm whether higher flexibility will be balanced with sufficient evidence-based scrutiny from the commission to prevent major competition distortions in the EU market. The early evidence shows that the new governance model mainly allowed governments more flexibility against increased budgetary strain as national strategic plans are especially weak on the most important progressive elements, such as the new conditionalities and eco schemes. The planned midterm policy review will be the first opportunity to raise issues and introduce changes that will feed into the next reform cycle.  

Next, F2F’s and the Biodiversity Strategy’s policy targets could lead to significant legal and regulatory changes, which will nonetheless take time and will not affect the current CAP cycle. There is a significant ongoing opposition by conservative voices who cite the likely decline in domestic agricultural production and farm income, the increase in domestic food prices and the externalisation of CO2 emissions via higher production elsewhere.xxiv  

However, such opposition neglects the graduality of the proposed change, parallel investments in sustainable production and the accommodation of a trade policy that aims to incentivise sustainable production elsewhere through carbon pricing instruments. Most importantly, critical assessments overlook the impact of the no-change scenario, such as that of rapid climate change and biodiversity loss, which are major threats to agriculture and food production. Currently, the emissions trading system does not include agriculture. In the EU, agriculture accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gases and is the main factor of biodiversity loss.xxv  

The recent global food security crisis has already been (ab)used to distract from necessary reform. To address price surges, the EU agreed on a €1.5 billion emergency package, which in many ways supported intensive practices and targeted the animal agriculture sector but contradicted the goals of climate-oriented proposals such as the extensification of the livestock sector, the reduction of imported protein feed and the promotion of more plant-based diets. 

Importantly, necessary reforms need not require the introduction of new restrictive regulations and costly instruments. Paradoxically, many of the existing progressive CAP measures mainly offset the negative impacts of other more traditional CAP measures. What must be done is to remove/reorient current CAP instruments such as direct payments and certain Pillar II measures. Increasing land availability would incentivise extensification and carbon farming, which are currently weakly represented in Pillar II. Carbon pricing instruments would support investments in alternative and innovative feeds. Such changes would encourage investments in vertical farming and aquaponics to bring production closer to urban areas. These structural changes would also allow for better integration between agriculture and climate and energy policy via the introduction of battery-powered machinery and green-energy farm production (solar panels, wind turbines and new-generation sustainable biofuels and bioenergy). 

While agricultural policies have long been associated with taxpayers’ and consumers’ rational ignorance because of dispersed costs (versus the concentrated benefits of well-organised farm lobby groups), multiple agriculture- and food-related crises have raised awareness and called for change. According to the specialised Eurobarometer survey on the CAP conducted in early spring 2022, up to 92% of respondents believed that the biggest challenge to EU agriculture is climate-related extreme weather events, and two-thirds of them want farmers to do more to protect the environment even if it means lessening the global competitiveness of EU agriculture.xxvi As this study argued based on both CAP literature and the 2021 CAP reform as a case study, broadening agricultural policy ideas and debate is a necessary but insufficient change criterion since it has largely resulted in limited or superficial policy changes. Thus, it is also important to remember that formal decision-making procedures are heavily oriented towards the status quo. Hence, first, the CAP must be delinked from veto-based budget debates, and, second, the public should pay more attention to the CAP debates in the parliament as the EU’s directly elected colegislator, whose role in the process is pivotal. 


  1. C. Daugbjerg and P. H. Feindt (2017), ‚Post-exceptionalism in public policy: transforming food and agricultural policy‘, Journal of European Public Policy, 24(11), 1565–1584.
  2. G. Pe’er et al. (2019), ‚A greener path for the EU Common Agricultural Policy‘, Science, 365(6452), 449–451.
  3. E. Erjavec, M. Lovec and K. Erjavec (2015) ‚From „Greening“ to „Greenwash“: the drivers and discourses of CAP 2020 reform‘ in J.F. Swinnen (ed.) The Political Economy of the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: An Imperfect Storm (London and Brussels: Rowman & Littlefield and CEPS), 215–244.
  4. For an overview see M. Lovec (2016), The European Union‘s Common Agricultural Policy Reforms: Towards a Critical Realist Approach (Basingstoke: Palgrave). E. Erjavec and M. Lovec (2017), ‚Research of European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy: disciplinary boundaries and beyond‘, European Review of Agricultural Economics, 44(4), 732–754.
  5. C. Daugbjerg and A. Swinbank (2009), Ideas, Institutions, and Trade: the WTO and the Curious Role of EU Farm Policy in Trade Liberalization (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  6. C. Daugbjerg and A. Swinbank (2004), ‚The CAP and EU enlargement: prospects for alternative strategy to avoid the lock-in of CAP support‘, Journal of Common Market Studies, 42(1), 99–119.
  7. G. Skogstad (1998), ‚Ideas, paradigms and institutions: agricultural exceptionalism in the European Union and the United States‘, Governance 11(4), 463–490. I. Garzon (2006) Reforming the CAP.History of a Paradigm Change (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan).
  8. J. Pokrivcak, C. Crombez and J. F. M. Swinnen (2006), ‚The status quo bias and reform of the common agricultural policy: impact of voting rules, the European commission and external changes‘, European Review of Agricultural Economics, 33(4), 562–590.
  9. C. Crombez, L. Knops and J. F. M. Swinnen (2012), ‚Reform of the common agricultural policy under the co-decision procedure‘, Intereconomics, 6, 336–342.
  10. M. Lovec and E. Erjavec (2015), ‚The Co-decision Trap: How Co-Decision Procedure hindered CAP Reform‘, Intereconomics, 50(1), 52–58.
  11. C. Daugbjerg and A. Swinbank (2016), ‚Three decades of policy layering and politically sustainable reform in the European Union’s agricultural Policy‘, Governance, 29(2), 265–280.
  12. K. Lynggaard and P. Nedergaard (2009), ‚The logic of policy development: lessons learned from reform and routine within the CAP 1980–2003‘, Journal of European Integration, 31(3), 291–309.
  13. K. Erjavec and E. Erjavec (2015), ‚Greening the CAP- just a fashionable justification? A discourse analysis of the 2014–2020 CAP reform documents‘, Food Policy, 51, 53–62.
  14. European Commission (2018a), A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends, The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, COM/2018/321 final.
  15. European Commission (2018b), Proposal of Strategic plans regulation, Horizontal regulation and CMO regulation. COM/2018/392 final – 2018/0216 (COD).
  16. The methodology upon which this claim was based was controversial, as it treated various instruments green by definition, regardless of the (or even against) evidence.
  17. ECORYS (2017), Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy: Summary of the results of the Public Consultation.
  18. European Court of Auditors (ECA) (2018), Opinion No 7/2018: concerning Commission proposals for regulations relating to the Common Agricultural Policy for the post-2020 period. M. Lovec, T. Šumrada and E. Erjavec (2020), ‚New CAP Delivery Model, Old Issues‘, Intereconomics, 55(2), 112–119.
  19. European Commission (2020a), Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. COM/2020/381 final.
  20. European Commission (2020b), Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives. COM/2020/380 final.
  21. European Commission (2020c), The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe. COM/2020/442 final.
  22. Fondation Robert Schuman (FRS) (2021), ‚The Common Agricultural Policy 2023–2027: change and continuity‘, European issue no 607.
  23. J. Wesseler (2022), ‚The EU‘s farm-to-fork strategy: An assessment from the perspective of agricultural economics‘, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 44(4), 1–18.
  24. Animal sector and the Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) are at the centre of discussions of the impact of agriculture on climate change (and at the centre of climate-oriented CAP reform). There are ongoing discussions on the emissions by agriculture due to the unstable nature of livestock production-related methane emissions accounting for the bulk of the total GHG emissions and the complex methodologies to measure the impact of LULUCF.
  25. European Commission (2022), Special Eurobarometer 2022 520: Europeans, Agriculture and the CAP.


Crombez, C., Knops, L., & Swinnen, J. F. M. (2012). Reform of the common agricultural policy under the co-decision procedure. Intereconomics, 6, 336–342. 

Daugbjerg, C., & Feindt, P. H. (2017). Post-exceptionalism in public policy: Transforming food and agricultural policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 24(11), 1565–1584.  

Daugbjerg, C., & Swinbank, A. (2004). The CAP and EU enlargement: Prospects for alternative strategy to avoid the lock-in of CAP support. Journal of Common Market Studies, 42(1), 99–119. 

Daugbjerg, C., & Swinbank, A. (2009). Ideas, Institutions, and Trade: the WTO and the Curious Role of EU Farm Policy in Trade Liberalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Daugbjerg, C., & Swinbank, A. (2016). Three decades of policy layering and politically sustainable reform in the European Union’s agricultural Policy. Governance, 29(2), 265–280.  

ECORYS. (2017). Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy: Summary of the results of the Public Consultation

Erjavec, K., & Erjavec, E. (2015). Greening the CAP- just a fashionable justification? A discourse analysis of the 2014–2020 CAP reform documents. Food Policy, 51, 53–62.  

Erjavec, E., Lovec, M. & Erjavec, K. (2015). ‘From “Greening” to “Greenwash”: the drivers and discourses of CAP 2020 reform’. In: J.F. Swinnen (ed.), The Political Economy of the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: An Imperfect Storm. London: Rowman & Littlefield, Brussels: CEPS, 215–244. 

Erjavec, E., & Lovec, M. (2017). Research of European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy: Disciplinary boundaries and beyond. European Review of Agricultural Economics, 44(4), 732–754.  

European Commission. (2018a). A modern budget for a union that protects, empowers and defends. The Multiannual Financial Framework for 20212027, COM/2018/321 final

European Commission. (2018b). Proposal of Strategic plans regulation, Horizontal regulation and CMO regulation. COM/2018/392 final 2018/0216 (COD)

European Commission. (2020a). Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. COM/2020/381 final

European Commission. (2020b). Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives. COM/2020/380 final

European Commission. (2020c). The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe. COM/2020/442 final

European Commission. (2022). Special Eurobarometer 2022 520: Europeans, Agriculture and the CAP

European Court of Auditors (ECA). (2018). Opinion No 7/2018: concerning Commission proposals for regulations relating to the Common Agricultural Policy for the post-2020 period. 

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