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Agriculture and Fisheries

Once a month the ministers for agriculture and fisheries meet in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. It discusses and adopts legislative acts concerning agriculture, rural development, fisheries as well as food safety, consumer health and protection.

Alongside Economic and Monetary Union, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the field in which the European Union has made most progress in terms of political integration. The initial objectives of the CAP were to guarantee food self-sufficiency, increase agricultural productivity, ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, the availability of supplies and reasonable prices for consumers.

Today, however, consumers expect more from agriculture and their concerns span areas such as the conservation of nature and the environment, animal welfare and the methods used in food production. Moreover, the CAP has to adapt to the realities of a global agricultural market and respect the North-South balance in terms of food production. It must also take into account patterns of demographic change in rural areas. The CAP has undergone constant reform since the 1990s and its focus is now on rural development, land use and management and agricultural production methods which better respect consumer protection and the environment.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) aims to foster the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the resources of the sea, lakes and waterways within an overall economic framework that respects both consumers and the environment.

Decisions on the financing of agricultural and fisheries measures are taken in the Council on the basis of an annual European budget of about EUR 43 billion that is separate from the national budgets. It is used to fund agricultural and fisheries policies which involve:

  • organising production;
  • establishing the resources available;
  • rural development;
  • regulation of the markets.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council acts by qualified majority. Depending on the documents in question, the opinion of the European Parliament can be either advisory or legally binding.


Documents "Agriculture and Fisheries"

  • Updated: 25.06.2008
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