Thursday, 27 March 2008

EU TFEU: CAP flanking measures

Can the dissemination of knowledge and the promotion of foodstuffs save European agriculture?

Yes or no, the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union preserves the supporting or flanking measures of the common agricultural policy (CAP) at treaty level.


Article 35 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is one of those basic provisions left without specific mention by the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL). See OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/53. The intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) only presents the future numbering in the Tables of equivalences annexed to the Lisbon Treaty (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/207).

We fetch the present text from the latest consolidated version of the current treaties (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/55), add the framework on top and note the future numbering of the referral:

Part Three Policies and internal actions of the Union

Title II (renumbered Title III) Agriculture and fisheries

Article 35 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 41 TFEU

To enable the objectives set out in Article 33 [ToL, renumbered Article 39 TFEU] to be attained, provision may be made within the framework of the common agricultural policy for measures such as:

(a) an effective coordination of efforts in the spheres of vocational training, of research and of the dissemination of agricultural knowledge; this may include joint financing of projects or institutions;

(b) joint measures to promote consumption of certain products.


The corresponding Article of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was III-125 (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/52). Naturally, the referral was different, but otherwise the wording was the same as in the current TEC.

Article III-229 was home to the corresponding, unchanged provision of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.


We can see a hierarchy of norms within the Title on agriculture and fisheries if we look back at the provisions we have dealt with until today:

Article 32 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 38 TFEU, presents the scope of the common agricultural and fisheries policy (CAP).

Article 33 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 39 TFEU, lists the CAP objectives (in all their post-war glory).

Article 34 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 40 TFEU, adds the main means to attain the goals, namely the common agricultural markets organisation.

Article 35 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 41 TFEU, is rather the poor relation of the preceding strong-arm provision, allowing support or flanking measures supplementing the interventionist means.

Gaining and disseminating knowledge are time-honoured crafts of modernisation.


Now for a subjective discussion starter (or stopper):

Joint measures to promote consumption of certain products may raise a few eyebrows. If the Commission (ultimately the member states) finds that there are lakes of fatty milk or intoxicating wine hard to dispose of, they are at liberty to devise measures to ‘force-feed’ populations already obese or intemperate.

Given the framework of CAP decision making we can not rest assured that human health or consumer considerations will top the agenda.


Earlier CAP posts have suggested further reading for interested citizens. An additional CAP primer is offered by the Wikipedia article ‘Common Agricultural Policy’. The article has a UK perspective, and despite the latest modification on 25 March 2008 it is in need of editing and updating, but it is still a useful introduction:

Ralf Grahn