The controversy and the future of Common Agricultural Policy of European Union
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The controversy and the future of Common Agricultural Policy of European Union Problems/benefits Effect of enlargement Agriculture is a problematic area in every developed country. Free market economy that allows direct competition of agricultural products can often cause a surplus or shortage of certain products, and quality changes. In order to ensure reliable supply of food member states of the European Union decided to cooperate and transferred the authority over agriculture policy to European level. Common Agricultural Policy was set in 1961 and its aims were to improve production and solve existing problems in agriculture all over EU member states. The previous successes of cooperation with coal and steel, and the fact that most states had difficulties to produce certain goods logically led to deeper cooperation in agriculture, and to CAP.
The goals of policy defined in Maastricht Treaty, article 39: "(a) to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilization of the factors of production, in particular labor; (b) thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture; (c) to stabilize markets; (d) to assure the availability of supplies; (e) to ensure that supplies reach the consumers at reasonable prices." (TEU) Since its foundation CAP has improved the agriculture of Europe in a great sense, but critics would say that costs of the successes are considerably high for all.
The growth of the efficiency of the labor can be noticed on the fact that: " In 1960 over 15 million people in the original six had worked on the land. In the mid-1970s the agricultural population of the enlarged EC was only 14 million, falling to 10 million by the mid-1980s" (Urwin, 187) Second goal of CAP is a social mission: to help the quality of life of the people in agriculture. This went little against the economic productivity and caused many negative consequences on it, especially by huge costs. The interventions that were made were not only subsidizing the farmers, that is a huge burden for EU budget but artificial manipulations with prices and setting of standards. These two were criticized by many liberal economists as standardization brought prices up, and artificial price setting caused surpluses and deficits.
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