Policy ForumAgriculture

A greener path for the EU Common Agricultural Policy

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Science  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6452, pp. 449-451
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax3146


The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) is one of the world's largest agricultural policies and the EU's longest-prevailing one. Originally focused mostly on supporting production and farm income, the CAP has progressively integrated instruments to support the environment. Nonetheless, there is considerable agreement among EU citizens that the CAP still does not do enough to address ongoing environmental degradation and climate change (92% of nonfarmers, 64% of farmers) (1). In May and June 2018, the European Commission (EC) published the financial plan and legislative proposal for the CAP post-2020 (2), prompting numerous proposed amendments that the newly elected European Parliament (EP) will now have to consider. With an eye toward the next and final reform stages, including budget discussions and “trilogue” negotiations between the EC, the Council, and the EP to begin in autumn 2019, we examine whether the proposed post-2020 CAP can address key sustainability issues and meet societal demands for higher environmental performance.

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