Wageningen University and Research Centre

Input for discussion on Common Agricultural Policy after 2020


There is a possibility that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be reformulated after 2020. In order to stimulate a strategic discussion regarding the reformulation of this policy, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has asked the LEI to conduct an exploratory study into possible scenarios and policy options for the CAP after 2020. This study contains suggestions for the policy's structure that serve as input for a public debate, both online and offline. The study also provides an overview of possible objectives for the CAP. Alongside issues such as food security, the environment and climate, it also addresses possible new objectives such as public health.

The principle idea of this study is that the new and existing objectives of the CAP are linked to three domains, each with its own budget. These three domains are based on the three P's: People, Planet and Profit. It is also important that the CAP can respond flexibly to various developments in the future.

Food security, risk management and income support

Domain A (profit) encompasses the CAP objectives of food security, risk management and income support for farmers. Farmers in the EU currently receive a land-related supplement. This preliminary exercise by the LEI is based on personal income payments for farmers that are set regionally. In addition, it proposes a financial safety net, a fund, for situations such as failed harvests, and subsidies for risk management remain place, e.g. in the form of insurances.

Nature, environment, biodiversity and climate change

Domain B (planet) encompasses the CAP objectives relating to nature, the environment, biodiversity and climate change. As instruments for domain B, LEI proposes paying farmers extra for their sustainability performance in addition to legislation relating to nature, public health and animal welfare. An example could be voluntary reduction in the use of antibiotics. In order to reduce administrative burdens and give the industry an incentive to take greater responsibility regarding sustainability and reasonable incomes for farmers, these payments could be linked to sustainability programmes implemented by the industry or regional government. Another proposal within this domain is that the government could support information measures to encourage consumers to eat more plant-based products than animal products as a first step towards a European food policy.

A living countryside, innovative and employment

The creation of a living countryside and the stimulation of innovation and employment in the agricultural sector occurs in domain C (people). This can be stimulated by the government through the introduction of investment subsidies and schemes via European programmes such as the EIP. Entrepreneurs should also be given access to subsidies and scheme to enable the business to perform several functions (multifunctional farming). This generally strengthens ties with the surrounding area and has a positive effect on the sector's image.

Issue: changing from an agricultural policy to a food policy

This study has a number of limitations. For example, it only discusses to a limited extent the issue of whether agricultural policy should change to a food policy, a discussion which was set in motion in the Netherlands by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy but which has only just started in Europe. Nor does in consider the scope and possible reductions of the EU budget and the effects on the CAP. In summary, the report outlines trends and developments of importance to the CAP after 2020, offering points for a strategic discussion in the Netherlands regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.

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