Common agricultural policy

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The common agricultural policy ( CAP ) is a policy area of the European Union . It is one of the oldest and financially most important policy areas in the EU. With the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the six founding members of the European Communities agreed on the communitarisation of agricultural policy , which came into force in 1962.

The CAP originally supported farmers through price guarantees . Government agencies bought up products that could not be sold for the guaranteed price ( intervention price ). In the 1990s the CAP was liberalized . Price guarantees have been reduced and gradually replaced by production-independent direct aids to farms. Today the CAP is based on two “pillars”. The first pillar comprises direct payments to farmers as well as the common market regulations for individual agricultural products. The second pillar complements the CAP since 1999 and aims at rural development . Since the 2013 reform, reducing the negative environmental impact of agriculture has become more important.

The CAP funding guidelines are generally adopted every seven years and are based on the EU's multiannual budget . For the funding period 2014 to 2020, EUR 312.7 billion (29%) was planned for market-related expenditure and direct aid (Pillar 1) and EUR 95.6 billion (9%) for rural development (Pillar 2).

Origin of the CAP

After the end of the Second World War , the states that later founded the European Economic Community (EEC) needed food imports in order to secure the food of their populations. Germany's food imports were mostly financed by the USA until 1952, as the German economy initially did not achieve any foreign trade surpluses. The desire to reduce dependencies in the sensitive field of food supply through higher harvest yields formed the motivation for closer cooperation between the six founding members of the EEC: the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

One of the goals of the CAP is to increase productivity through the use of technical production factors

At the time of the establishment of the common market by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, agriculture in the EEC's founding states was characterized by strong state intervention. In order to include agricultural products in the free movement of goods in the newly founded European Economic Community and at the same time to receive public support for agriculture, the previous national intervention mechanisms were transferred to the level of the EEC.

For the founding states, this enabled an enormous expansion of the respective markets without the agricultural sector having to forego state support. Another effect was that financial responsibility could be transferred to the European level, away from the national governments. While the French agricultural sector was comparatively modern and productive at the end of the 1950s and was striving to enlarge its sales markets, the young Federal Republic of Germany focused its reconstruction efforts on industry. Agriculture was not competitive compared to the French and Dutch.

But even without the necessary investments, a “revolution in agriculture” was already taking place in Germany: increases in output and productivity meant that fewer and fewer farmers and farm workers were needed to produce as much or even more than before. The old rural structure was in upheaval, and unemployment among the rural population rose. In addition, the increase in per capita income in agriculture fell far behind that of other branches of the economy.

Politicians reacted with "protectionist defensive weapons" and thus ensured high prices for agricultural products. From a German point of view, prices should remain as high as possible, whereas France and the Netherlands primarily aimed at external shielding and a common internal market. The CAP reflected these interests. It was based on high producer prices as income support for the farmers and an isolation of the market of the EEC from the outside through the actual establishment of protective tariffs .

The goals of the CAP were laid down in the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty). Title II of the treaty initially only regulated the basic principles. It was established that agricultural policy is also subject to the rules of the common market, with the more specific rules of Articles 39 to 46 of the EEC Treaty taking precedence over the former (Article 38, Paragraph 2 of the EEC Treaty) (EEC Regulation 26/1962 still formulates this priority once explicitly off). The scope of regulation of Title II of the EEC Treaty extends to "the products of the soil, livestock and fisheries as well as the products of the first processing stage that are directly related to them " (Art. 38 Paragraph 1 EEC Treaty). A list of the individual products was attached to the contract and should be updated within two years, i.e. by 1960 (Art. 38 Paragraph 3 in conjunction with Annex II of the EEC Treaty).

Goals of the CAP

At the Stresa Conference on July 3, 1958, the founding states of the EEC agreed on three basic principles for the organization of the common agricultural markets:

  1. Free exchange of goods in all member states (“unity of the market”). The entire internal market should be subject to uniform rules.
  2. Priority for EU products ("Community preference"). Agricultural products from the EU are given priority and price advantages over imported products. The internal market should be protected from low-priced products from third countries and from major fluctuations in the world market.
  3. Community funding: All CAP expenditure is borne by the Community budget of the EEC (later EC / EU).

A uniform market should be created by the common market regulations (CMO) for agricultural products (according to Art. 40 Para. 2 EEC Treaty). In the numerous GMOs, the pricing policy, production modalities and, in some cases, the production quantities of individual groups of goods were determined across the EEC. The aim was to have an internal market like a national market without any trade barriers. According to the ECJ , the order of a market “consists of a set of institutions and regulations with the help of which the competent authorities try to control and direct the market.” Depending on the product, a GMO can have one of the following organizational forms:

  1. common competition rules;
  2. binding coordination of national market regulations;
  3. a European market organization.

Community preference can already be found in the resolution of the Stresa Conference of 1958. According to this, products produced in the EEC are to be given preference over and protected from those from third countries. The ECJ confirmed the principle in 1967 with reference to Art. 44 Para. 2 EEC Treaty . The principle was implemented through fees on imports. Prices for imported goods were also higher than the threshold price for domestic goods.

The financial solidarity was expressed in the establishment of the "European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund" (EAGGF) in 1962. Article 2 (2) sentence 2 of Regulation 25/1962 describes the purpose of

  1. Refunds for exports to third countries,
  2. Interventions for market regulation and
  3. the agricultural structure policy and measures to increase productivity are financed from the EAGGF.

The fund is fed by contributions from the member states, the amount of which is determined annually by the Council (Article 6), and income from levies on imports from third countries (Article 2 (1)).

The objectives of the common agricultural policy were set out in Article 33 of the (consolidated) founding treaty of the European Community:

  1. to increase the productivity of agriculture by promoting technical progress, rationalization and the best possible use of the factors of production, in particular the labor force;
  2. in this way to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural population, in particular by increasing the per capita income;
  3. stabilize the markets;
  4. to ensure supply;
  5. to ensure delivery to consumers at reasonable prices.

They were repeated and confirmed in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Title III, Art. 39) in 2009. Since the contractually stipulated goals cannot be fulfilled to the same extent at the same time, the legislature has considerable discretion to implement current political priorities, according to established case law.

In 2010, the European Commission added three further "strategic goals" to these goals :

  • Food security : Preserving the potential for sustainable food production in order to secure food security in the EU in the long term and to contribute to meeting the growing global food demand;
  • Environment and climate change : helping agricultural communities supply Europeans with high quality and diverse quality food produced in a sustainable manner in accordance with environmental, aquatic, animal health, welfare, plant health and public health requirements;
  • Territorial balance : maintaining viable rural communities, for whom farming is an important economic activity that creates local jobs and receives.

Financing the CAP

Since 1985 the share of agricultural expenditure in the EU budget has been steadily decreasing. Around 1982 the CAP accounted for around 70% of the EU budget, compared to only 37.8% in the 2014–2020 funding period.

The EU is thus in line with the international trend. According to calculations by the OECD , the total amount of support measures in industrialized countries was reduced from around 3% in the period 1986–1988 to less than 1% (2011–2013) of gross domestic product (GDP). With subsidies of around 1 percent of GDP, the European Union is slightly below the OECD average of 1.1 percent. In an OECD comparison, New Zealand , Australia and Chile have the lowest support . In contrast, in Norway , Switzerland , Japan , South Korea and Iceland, 50 to 65% of farm income comes from government subsidies.

Until 2007, the financing of the common agricultural policy was only organized through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) . As the most important structural fund, the EAGGF recently made up around half of the budget of the European Union. The EAGGF was divided since 1964 into two divisions, guarantee and orientation , were considered for the different rules. The much larger "Guarantee" department was used to finance expenses resulting from the application of market and price policy. These expenses are difficult to predict. The amount has sometimes been adjusted because it is subject to many, many influences such as unfavorable weather conditions, animal diseases, demand development, world market prices, etc. In the past, the three areas of crops ( grain , oilseeds and protein crops), beef and dairy products received most of the funds from the department "Guarantee" of the EAGGF. The “Orientation” department served to finance structural policy measures and the development of rural areas. In contrast to the Guarantee Section, the Guidance Section of the EAGGF was based on the principle of co-financing.

Regulation (EC) No. 1290/2005 divided the EAGGF into two separate funds:

  • The European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) has an annual budget of almost EUR 47 billion (as of 2013) and finances the expenditure of the single common market organization, direct payments to farms, sales promotion measures for agricultural products and one-off expenses, e.g. for veterinary measures. Main beneficiaries of EAGF were 2013 France (16.6%), Spain (12.1%), Germany (11.4%) and Italy (10.3%). The Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 received a total of only 18.2% of the EAGF funds.
  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) co-finances measures to strengthen the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry, agri-environmental measures , measures to improve the quality of life in rural areas, to promote the diversification of the rural economy and to build local capacities . The main recipient countries of the EAFRD are Poland (14%), Italy (9.8%), Germany (9.8%) and Romania (9.2%). In total, 40.1% of EAFRD funding goes to the 12 new member states of the EU .

The two funds correspond to two “pillars” or modules of the CAP. With the EU agricultural reform in 1999 (within the framework of Agenda 2000 ) the possibility was created for the member states of the EU to modulate the funds of the first pillar: the direct payments to farmers could be reduced by measures of the environment, nature and To finance animal and consumer protection and rural development. Germany made use of this option from 2003 and introduced a modulation of 2 percent (optional modulation). The EU agricultural reform of 2003 introduced compulsory modulation. This obliged member states to modulate direct payments. In Germany, the modulation rates were 3 percent in 2005, 4 percent in 2006 and 5 percent from 2007 onwards. Funds received with modulation are topped up (co-financed) by the federal states and used for environmental, nature, animal and consumer protection purposes as well spent on rural development. Modulation has been flexible since 2013: Member states may transfer a maximum of 15% from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 and a maximum of 25% from Pillar 2 to Pillar 1.

The composition of the CAP budget at EU level in 2017 was as follows:

Area Medium (in million euros) Percentage ownership %)
administration 135.3 0.2
Market intervention 2,806.8 4.9
First pillar direct payments
39,661.7 68.9
Rural development
Second pillar
14,355.5 24.9
Horizon 2020 program 237.1 0.4
Others 341.4 0.5
total 57,537.9 100

Responsibilities and decision-making process

The General Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development and the subordinate authorities in the member states of the European Union are responsible for implementing the common agricultural policy .

The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development in Brussels

Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (December 1, 2009), the co-decision procedure has been in force for decisions on new enactments or amendments to directives and regulations . This means that decisions have to be taken both by national line ministers represented in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and by Members of the European Parliament after the negotiators of the two institutions have reached an agreement on all the details. The legislative templates are prepared by the Agriculture Directorate-General . The drafts for which the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible form the basis for the formation of opinions in the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament and in the Special Committee on Agriculture , which prepares the decision-making in the Agriculture Council .

Until 2009, the consultation procedure applied to the entire area of ​​the common agricultural policy, according to which the European Parliament only had to be heard before decisions.

The Lisbon Treaty , however, provides for exceptions to the EU's ordinary legislative procedure in favor of the Council. Thus is Agriculture and Fisheries Council under certain conditions, authorized to make decisions on the Commission proposed aid and the development of the market organizations (Article 42 and 43 TFEU).

The Lisbon Treaty provides for another innovation in the common agricultural policy. Since then, a group of Member States (ie at least nine) has been able to decide among themselves additional agricultural commitments without all of the EU Member States having to join in such deepened cooperation. One speaks here of the instrument of enhanced cooperation (Art. 20, EU Treaty).

Reforms and further development of the CAP

The signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 , which established the European Economic Community (EEC), led to the development of a common agricultural policy (CAP). It was adopted at the Stresa Conference in 1958 and came into force in 1962.

Overview of reforms

Since then, the CAP has been reformed many times. Some milestones are:

year reform aims
1968 Mansholt plan Reduce the agricultural workforce by around half over a ten-year period and encourage larger, more efficient farms (not fully implemented)
1972 Structural measures Modernization of agriculture (the restriction of investment support to "viable" farms from 1968 was implemented), combating overproduction
1985 Green Paper "Perspectives for the Common Agricultural Policy" Combating overproduction, also in 1985, enactment of an ordinance to improve the efficiency of the agricultural structure (Efficiency Ordinance)
1988 "Guideline for agricultural expenditure" Limitation of agricultural expenditure
1992 MacSharry reform Basic reform with the objectives: lowering agricultural prices, compensatory payments for the incurred loss of income, promoting market mechanisms, measures to protect the environment, gradually lowering export refunds
1999 Agenda 2000 Boost competitiveness through price cuts, rural policies, environmental measures and food safety. Introduction of " Cross Compliance ", modulation of premium payments
2003 Mid-term evaluation Decoupling of direct payments from production and binding to cross compliance
2009 “Health Check” reform Accelerate Agenda 2000 measures while limiting EU agricultural spending
2013 CAP reform 2013 Greening, abolition of the last remaining export subsidies , complete decoupling of direct payments

Price Support Policy (1962–1992)

GAP market price system (until 1992)

Until the first major CAP reform (MacSharry reform, 1992), EU agricultural policy was based on price supports. Their goals were:

  • Securing the income of farmers
  • Prevention of rural exodus
  • Independence of the EU from food imports
  • Maintenance of the cultural landscape and tradition
  • secure EU-wide food supply

Three methods were used to support prices:

  • Intervention and storage of EU surpluses: The EU set minimum prices ( intervention prices ) for agricultural goods. If the market price fell below that, the EU would buy products from producers. By removing surpluses from the market, the support purchases stabilized producer prices. Stored products were sold when the market situation was right, sometimes on the world market. If the sale was not possible, they were destroyed.
  • Import levy: If world market goods flow into the EU at too low prices, "threshold prices" were set; the EU demanded the difference between the world market price and the threshold price as a kind of tariff.
  • Export reimbursement : In order to be competitive on the world market, exporters could have the difference between the world market price and the threshold price paid out by the EU. Farmers received attractive domestic prices and the goods still made it onto the world market.

The price supports resulted in a high level of security of supply of high quality food in the EU, but the CAP experienced a crisis in the 1980s. Overproduction made market organization costs prohibitively high and generated criticism in society. Farmers' incomes remained partially unsatisfactory despite EU funding. The destruction or waste of agricultural products was viewed as ethically questionable; high prices encouraged intensive production at the expense of the environment. Possible dumping prices of European agricultural companies through export refunds had negative consequences for local markets in poor countries; the isolation of the EU market made exports more difficult for non-EU states. The CAP was one of the main reasons for the delays in the completion of negotiations of the Uruguay Round of GATT . Consumers had to pay prices well above the world market level.

The EU Agriculture Commissioner Ray MacSharry (1989–1993) initiated a comprehensive reform of the CAP. Since 1993, prices have only been supported in exceptional situations and in a weakened form. Price supports for milk and sugar were ended by 2017; instead, farmers have received “premiums” since 1993 depending on the production volume.

Conversion to operating and product bonuses

A radical change began in the 1993 funding year. Price supports have been reduced and premiums per hectare have been introduced for certain crops (including cereals, maize, rape). In 1993, 1 hectare of wheat received a premium of DM 330 . To “relieve the pressure on the market”, applicants who had more than 15 hectares of land had to shut down at least 15 percent of it for a year. In addition to bull premiums, suckler cow premiums and ewe premiums in some countries, livestock owners were also granted a so-called Herod premium . In Germany, Austria and some other countries this was not possible for reasons of animal welfare. This required the EDP recording of every field and every livestock in the EU with a great deal of bureaucracy. The conflicts with other world market participants ( WTO , USA ) continued. These accused EU representatives of “surplus production”.

On June 26, 2003 in Luxembourg the EU Agriculture Ministers decided on a further reform of the common agricultural policy ( Luxembourg decisions ). Council Regulation (EC) No. 1782/2003 of September 29, 2003 defines the guidelines for the funding period 2005 to 2013. In this way, EU agricultural spending should remain affordable despite the EU's eastward expansion and third countries should have easier market access. Grassland locations that were disadvantaged by the previous funding were better off.

The product-related bonus system was replaced by a decoupled system from 2005 by the Fischler reform (according to Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler ) . It is irrelevant what is grown as long as it is "proper agriculture". All premiums in the “animal sector” except for milk producer subsidies have been abolished. In addition, there were rules for cross compliance (minimum standards with regard to environmental protection) and mandatory modulation (see financing of the CAP ). Since then, there has been a joint application for most grants . In a second pillar (rural regional development), the LEADER program initiated in 1991 was strengthened and in 2006 became an independent focus of GAP funding .

As a result of the “Health Check” 2008/09, the EU agriculture ministers agreed in November 2008 to cut direct payments to farmers by 10 percent. From an annual subsidy amount of 300,000 euros, farmers also receive modulation deductions of up to four percent. In addition, the milk quota was increased by one percent annually between 2009 and 2013.

In 2010, the energy crop premium and the tobacco subsidy were discontinued. Farmers were shown erosion classes of the fields in the proof of use with overlaps with the area scenes nature reserve , water protection area , ecological land register and Natura 2000 area. The EU Commission monitored the "field piece formation". Since then, farmers have had to use GIS services such as the “Bayern Viewer” to check that their fields are correctly recorded. In some federal states, the “minimum application area” was tightened in 2010, e. B. on 1 ha of agricultural land. This measure relieved the administrative authorities. Only uses of 0.1 ha per application were funded.

Due to the drop in prices on the milk market and demonstrations by farmers, there was a "special milk program" with three rewards in 2010 and 2011:

  • The cow premium (together with other subsidies max. € 7,500 in three years): granted by the federal government, premium rate approx. € 21 per cow.
  • The grassland premium: v. a. Granted by the federal government with the participation of the EU, premium rate approx. € 25–35 per hectare of roughage area.
  • The additional EU-financed grassland premium as an immediate and emergency measure, premium rate approx. € 20 per hectare of roughage area.

Direct payments and greening: CAP guidelines 2014–2020

Participant in the Conference on the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 of the Chairs of the Agriculture Committees of the EU Member States in 2011

In 2013 a comprehensive reform of the CAP was decided. For the funding period 2014-2020 (according to EU regulation 1310/2013) the following guidelines apply:

  • increased promotion of common goods such as biodiversity and clean water,
  • Expansion of co-financed funding programs (member states, in the FRG the federal states, assume a minor portion of the EU subsidy),
  • Redistributions between Member States and between farmers according to farm size.

The EU Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Agriculture Ministers meeting in the Council formulated the main features of the CAP in four successive regulations:

  • Regulation 1305/2013 - Rural Development
  • Regulation 1306/2013 - "Horizontal" issues (funding and controls)
  • Regulation 1307/2013 - direct payments for farmers
  • Regulation 1308/2013 - Market Measures

Direct payments should only be made to farmers as "active farmers" in accordance with Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No. 1307/2013. In Germany, this restriction applies to direct payments from 5000 euros. A negative list shows types of companies for which the right to direct payment requires additional evidence.

Direct payments

Since 2015, the first pillar of the CAP in Germany has included various direct payments to farmers:

  • Basic premium : The redistribution of EU funds in favor of the new EU member states reduced the funds for Germany slightly from 2014 to 2019. At the same time, the regionally different premiums in Germany from 154 to 191 euros per hectare will be adjusted to around 175 euros per hectare by 2019.
  • Greening : Concrete environmental achievements are awarded with around 87 euros (2015) to around 85 (2019) per hectare (see below)
  • Redistribution premium : farms receive an additional 50 euros per hectare for the first 30 hectares and around 30 euros per hectare for a further 16 hectares.
  • Additional funding for young farmers : On application, young farmers up to the age of 40 receive additional funding of around 44 euros per hectare for a maximum of five years and 90 hectares of agricultural area from 2015.
  • Small producer regulation : The sum of the individual direct payment premiums (including greening premiums) is capped to 1,250 euros per year. Anyone applying for direct payment premiums as a small producer (less than 10 hectares) is not subject to the regulations of greening and cross compliance .


Extensive grassland
Preserving varieties is a goal of greening.

Since 2015, the receipt of 30% of the direct payments has been linked to greening measures . Organic farms and small producers are exempt from greening. The greening requirements include three mandatory measures:

  • Crop diversification : farms to 30 hectares, at least two crops grow. The main crop must not exceed 75% of the cultivated area. Farms of 30 ha or more must cultivate at least three types of crops, the main crop on up to 75% of the area and the two largest crops together up to 95%. Cultivation diversification is not necessary for farms that cultivate up to 10 hectares of arable land or more than 75% of grassland in their agricultural area or more than 75% of arable grass / set aside of arable land, provided that the area not allocated to these crops does not exceed 30 ha is.
  • Land use in the interest of the environment (ecological priority areas , ÖVF) : Companies with more than 15 hectares of arable land must reserve at least 5% as ecological priority areas. The reference value is the arable land with landscape elements on or on arable land, EFA buffer strips, short rotation plantations and afforestation areas. Farms with more than 75% grassland on the agricultural area or 75% arable grass / set aside / legumes on the arable area are exempt, provided that the area not allocated to these crops is max. 30 hectares.
  • Permanent grassland maintenance .

Pillars of the CAP

Since Agenda 2000 formulated in 1999, we have spoken of two pillars of the CAP. Since 2005, the pillar structure has also been reflected in the financing of the CAP: the first pillar is financed from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) , the second pillar from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) . The reallocation principle allows funds to be transferred between the two pillars at the level of a member state. In the 2014–2020 funding period, around 300 billion euros will flow into the first pillar and almost 100 billion euros into the second pillar. In Germany, 4.5% of the funds in the first pillar were transferred to the second. From 2020 the redeployment will be increased to 6%.

First pillar

In the 2014-2020 CAP funding period, the first pillar consists of two elements:

  • Direct payments that have been decoupled from production output since 2006 and only depend on the size of the agricultural area to which there isa legalentitlement in the case of cross compliance and which (can) consist of:
    • Basic premium (mandatory for all member states)
    • Greening payment (mandatory)
    • Additional funding for young farmers (mandatory)
    • Redistribution premium (optional)
    • additional income support in areas with natural handicaps (optional)
    • production-related (coupled) payments for special products (optional)
  • Market measures : funds for market interventions and sector-specific support (rules for marketing agricultural products, special measures to prevent market distortions, crisis measures, etc.).

The allocation of funds varies between the member states.

Second pillar

The second pillar of the CAP comprises a wide range of measures in the areas of rural development, environmental and climate protection. The planning and implementation of specific programs takes place at national, regional and local level. Possible topics are:

Environmental and climate protection are agri-environmental measures ; there are also programs to support organic farming and to promote animal welfare .

Implementation according to German law

Payment entitlements to single payments

A payment entitlement (ZA) stands for the right to receive a farm payment for one hectare of land. The FRG chose a "combination model". Farmers were granted premium rights of around € 298 / ha for arable land they applied for in 2005. For permanent grassland areas applied for , there were premium rights of approx. € 88 / ha. The “combination” consists in the fact that the basic ZA were increased by amounts derived from the farmer's previous livestock production activities, in order to prevent “farms with large cattle” who trusted the previous premiums from being on the verge of extinction overnight . This company-specific amount (BIB) could cover the field ZA of a dairy farmer or bull fattener z. B. increase to 490 € / ha.

In 2005, payment entitlements were only allocated for arable and permanent grassland. Payment claims for vineyards and tree nursery areas as well as permanent crops (e.g. orchards) were later submitted. In 2005, larger farms were also assigned closure payment entitlements. Who z. B. received 5 ha of set-aside ZA, had to set aside 5 ha of field annually and received approx. 298 € / ha for this.

The payment entitlements are recorded in the Central InVeKoS database (ZID). Payment claims are usually freely tradable. They can only be purchased by active farmers. A payment claim worth 298 euros is (as of January 2010) traded at around 387 euros. Payment entitlements can also be leased. For example, if 2 hectares of payment entitlement are leased, at least two hectares of land must be leased to the manager. Farmers can make the bookings themselves in the ZI database or commission service providers to do so. The premium authorities watch over the ZID. You can cancel incorrect bookings and transfer payment entitlements that have not been used for two years to the “national reserve”.

In 2008, closure payment entitlements were converted into normal payment entitlements and mandatory closure was abolished. Payment entitlements do not stick to a specific area. If a farmer has 18 hectares of payment entitlements and 15 hectares of land, the 15 most valuable payment entitlements are paid out to him. The “use of payment entitlements with area” is called “activation”.

Alignment of payment entitlements The payment entitlements remained unchanged until 2009. During the alignment from 2010 to 2013, all payment entitlements will be brought to a uniform level. For example, a Wiesen payment claim has the following performance:

Payment entitlements
year amount
2009 € 148 / ha
2010 168 € / ha
2011 € 209 / ha
2012 € 271 / ha
2013 € 354 / ha

Similarly, a high payment claim z. B. shrink from 480 € to 354 €. This adjustment will reduce the "grace period" granted to animal producers and simplify the calculation of premiums.

Cross Compliance Farmers who apply for funding must observe a wide range of regulations on environmental and animal welfare, food and feed safety, soil protection and water law and provide their subsidized areas with a minimum level of maintenance. In the event of non-compliance, direct payments will be reduced, in the case of first-time violations by up to five percent. In the event of repeated violations or intent, the funding can be withheld in full. The EU Member States must ensure that permanent grassland does not decrease significantly compared to 2003 levels.

Example: Farmer Rudi X. has 62 ha of support area. During a check, the veterinary office found that he had not reported three goats in the HI-Tier Internet database . As a result of the three percent penalty, he loses € 503 with the single farm payment, € 64 with the compensatory allowance and € 194 with the cultural landscape program.

Modulation In addition to production (“first pillar”), measures for rural development and ecology (“second pillar”) are to receive greater financial support. In order to raise funds for this, the farm premiums will be reduced by five percent from 2007. This is called "modulation". An exemption of 5000 euros remains unreduced.

As part of the “Health Check 2009”, the EU Council introduced “Progressive Modulation”: a reduction of seven percent for 2009, eight percent in 2010, nine percent in 2011 and ten percent in 2012.


In a scientifically representative survey of EU citizens and farmers in 2019, 92 percent of the citizens questioned and 64 percent of the farmers were of the opinion that the EU agricultural policy was not acting sufficiently in terms of sustainability. In the various specialist disciplines of science with a specialist focus on sustainability, there is broad agreement that the design of the EU's agricultural policy and its specific implementation at the level of the member states are crucial political levers for the success of abiotic and biotic resource protection . It is criticized that the EU's own sustainability goals would be thwarted by the current orientation of the funding apparatus. For example, the Advisory Council on Environmental Issues calls for subsidies that are exclusively oriented towards the common good. This would only reward the provision of additional ecosystem services going beyond agricultural production (e.g. building up soil carbon stocks through high water level maintenance). The current area and production-related subsidies v. a. the first pillar prevents a stronger sustainability, the direct payments would have to be stopped. According to the Council of Economic Experts, German politicians at the European level would actively prevent a switch to a support policy geared to the common good. Another point of criticism from scientists relates to the hoped-for, but ultimately dependent on certain, non-agricultural parameters and therefore generally inefficient income support function of agricultural support. It has been scientifically proven that the lease prices for agricultural land are regionally based on the subsidy levels of direct payments. This means that farmers who lease arable land or grassland (i.e. who are not owners) have to surrender a significant portion of the direct payments to the landowner , at least in favorable agricultural locations . This basically represents a redistribution mechanism in which funds from the agricultural budget flow into non-agricultural purposes or to owners who are not involved in agriculture themselves. From 2003 to 2015, the number of farms in the EU fell by 27.5 percent. The Heinrich Böll Foundation criticizes the EU's common agricultural policy because it would put smaller farms at a disadvantage.

The German Farmers' Association criticized the fact that the environmental requirements for farmers in the EU funding system would be steadily increased.

The EU's agricultural funding policy is also under constant criticism from environmental and nature conservation associations. For example, in the face of global warming in 2019 , environmental activists referred to a study published the day after the 2019 European elections . According to this, the support mechanisms of the common agricultural policy harm the climate goals of the European Union, for example by not sufficiently preventing the plowing of grassland areas , even though the upheaval releases a lot of carbon dioxide .

One criticism shared by practically all stakeholders relates to the bureaucracy built up to handle the funding law. Accordingly, for many years and all sides have been calling for a reduction in bureaucracy. In practice, however, this has increased from funding period to funding period. Since the bureaucratic apparatus has to be financed mainly from national funds, this additional expenditure is not visible in the agricultural budgets, which makes it difficult to evaluate the scientific efficiency of the EU's funding policy.

See also


  • Ulrich Kluge: Forty years of agricultural policy in the Federal Republic of Germany (= reports on agriculture. Special issue NF 202). 2 volumes. Parey, Hamburg et al. 1989, ISBN 3-490-35215-7 .
  • Ulrich Kluge: Eco-transition. Agricultural policy between reform and mad cow disease. Siedler, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-88680-736-3 .
  • Kiran Klaus Patel : Europeanization against his will. The Federal Republic of Germany in the agricultural integration of the EEC 1955–1973 (= studies on international history. Vol. 23). Oldenbourg, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-59146-0 .
  • Günter Rohrmoser : Agriculture in the ecological and cultural crisis. Society for cultural studies, Bietigheim / Baden 1996, ISBN 3-930218-25-9 (In the appendix: Hermann Priebe : Krisenbereich Agricultural Policy. ).
  • Guido Thiemeyer : From “Pool Vert” to the European Economic Community. European integration, cold war and the beginnings of the common European agricultural policy (= studies on international history. Vol. 6). Oldenbourg, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56427-7 (also: Cologne, University, Dissertation, 1997).
  • Winfried von Urff: Agricultural market and structure of rural areas in the European Union. In: Werner Weidenfeld (Ed.): The European Union. Political system and policy areas (= Europe Handbook. Vol. 1). 3rd, updated and revised edition. Bertelsmann-Stiftung publishing house , Gütersloh 2004, ISBN 3-89204-769-3 , pp. 205–222.
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Web links

Individual evidence

  3. One trillion euros for the future of Europe - the EU budget for 2014–2020. Retrieved August 5, 2014 .
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  5. The common agricultural policy explained ( Memento of the original dated December 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (European Commission publication, 2007) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. a b c d e Isabelle Garzon: Reforming the Common Agricultural Policy. History of a Paradigm Change . Hampshire / New York 2006 (English).
  8. a b c d Walter Hallstein: The European Community . 5th edition. Düsseldorf / Vienna 1979.
  9. a b Roland Bieber: Agriculture and Fisheries Policy . In: Bengt Beutler, Roland Bieber, Jörn Pipkorn, Jochen Streil (ed.): The European Community. Legal system and politics . 3. Edition. Baden-Baden 1987, p. 446-463 .
  10. Regulation (EEC) No. 26/62
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  13. ECJ Case 5/67, Beus vs. Main customs office in Munich, judgment of March 13, 1968.
  14. ^ Walter Frenz: European law . Berlin / Heidelberg 2016.
  15. Regulation (EEC) No. 25/62 on the financing of the common agricultural policy. In: Oj. 30, April 20, 1962, pp. 991-993.
  16. Consolidated version of the Treaty establishing the European Community , accessed on October 27, 2010
  17. ^ The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Treaty. In: Retrieved March 17, 2016 .
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  19. 2fsummary% 2f16f29128-en & accessItemIds =  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  20. -1995-97-and-2011-13_agr_pol-2014-graph7-en # page1
  21. Regulation (EC) No. 1290/2005
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  26. Pe'er et al. (2017), p. 33.
  27. Council Regulation (EC) No. 1782/2003 of September 29, 2003 , accessed on June 6, 2010
  28. Tagesschau: Ten percent less for the farmers., accessed on June 6, 2010 .
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  32. Regulation (EU) No. 1307/2013
  33. Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013
  34. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture: Principles of the Common Agricultural Policy (GAP) and its implementation in Germany
  35. agrarheute Josef Koch: Direct payments: German farmers should get so much less in 2020. September 2, 2019, accessed December 8, 2019 .
  36. Regulation (EU) No. 1307/2013
  37. Pe'er et al. a. (2017), p. 36.
  38. Regulation (EU) No. 1305/2013
  39. Regulation (EC) No. 73/2009 of the Council of January 19, 2009
  40. a b Guy Pe'er, Yves Zinngrebe, Francisco Moreira, Clélia Sirami, Stefan Schindler: A greener path for the EU Common Agricultural Policy . In: Science . tape 365 , no. 6452 , August 2, 2019, ISSN  0036-8075 , p. 449–451 , doi : 10.1126 / science.aax3146 ( [accessed December 24, 2019]).
  41. a b Advisory Council for Environmental Issues: Environmental Report 2016: Impulses for an integrative environmental policy . Berlin 2016, p. 462 ( [PDF]).
  42. ^ A b Nicolas Schoof, Rainer Luick, Andrea Ackermann, Sarah Baum, Hannah Böhner, Norbert Röder, Stephan Rudolph, Thomas Schmidt, Hermann Hötker, Heike Jeromin: Effects of the new framework conditions of the common agricultural policy on grassland-related biodiversity . In: BfN script . tape 540 . Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn - Bad Godesberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-89624-278-5 , p. 234 ( [accessed December 24, 2019]).
  43. Solveig Henning, Gunnar Breustedt, Uwe Latacz-Lohmann: Influence mitgehandelter payment entitlements to the purchase and lease prices of agricultural land in Schleswig-Holstein . GJAE, 2014, p. 219–239 ( [PDF]).
  44. Eurostat: Agricultural area in the EU constant from 2003 to 2013, but the number of agricultural holdings fell by more than a quarter. 2015, accessed December 24, 2019 .
  46. Landesbauernverband BW: EU direct payments must continue to support income. 2018, accessed December 24, 2019 .
  47. "European commission accused of 'deliberately harming climate action'" The of May 28, 2019.
  48. Michael Th. Schäfer: Society for Cultural Studies eV, accessed on June 6, 2010 .