Tuesday 25 March 2008

EU TFEU CAP: Common agricultural policy objectives

The main objectives of common agricultural policy (CAP) of the European Economic Community (EEC) were fixed in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and the Treaty of Lisbon fifty years later would actually ultimately restore the original Article number, without changing the slightest detail of the contents.

In spite of this immovable background the CAP is a hotly contested policy area and historically the greatest user of Community funds.

The CAP “Helath Check” in 2008, the Budget Review in 2008/09 and the next financial perspective from 2014 are all played out within the framework of the basic treaty provisions.


The intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) had nothing specific to say after Article 32 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), point 47, until Article 36 TEC, point 48 (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/33).

The Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) changes the name of the treaty, which becomes the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Part Three becomes ‘Policies and internal actions of the Union’ and fisheries are added to Title II (renumbered Title III) which consequently becomes ‘Agriculture and fisheries’ (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/207).

No horizontal amendments seem to apply to Article 33 TEC, which becomes Article 33 in the Treaty of Lisbon version of the TFEU, but destined for later renumbering to become Article 39 TFEU.

Thus, we present the new setting and retrieve the wording of the provision from the latest consolidated version of the treaties (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/54):

Part Three Policies and internal actions of the Union

Title II (renumbered Title III) Agriculture and fisheries

Article 33 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 39 TFEU

1. The objectives of the common agricultural policy shall be:

(a) to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;

(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 stabilise markets;

(d) to assure the availability of supplies;

(e) to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

2. In working out the common agricultural policy and the special methods for its application, account shall be taken of:

(a) the particular nature of agricultural activity, which results from the social structure of agriculture and from structural and natural disparities between the various agricultural regions;

(b) the need to effect the appropriate adjustments by degrees;

(c) the fact that in the Member States agriculture constitutes a sector closely linked with the economy as a whole.


The European Convention did not change a comma of corresponding provision of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, Article III-123 (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/51).

The IGC 2004’s Article III-227 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe observed the same degree of orthodoxy.

More than that, strict observance is highlighted through the fact that, word for word, the renumbered Article 39 TFEU would be the same as Article 39 of the original Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (Treaty of Rome, 1957).


Those who want to understand the present common agricultural policy and its future can turn to the UK House of Lords European Union Committee’s report ‘The Future of the Common Agricultural Policy’, with Volume I: Report (HL Paper 54-I) and Volume II: Evidence (HL Paper 54-II) (7th Report of Session 2007-08, published 6 March 2008):


The French think tank Notre Europe runs projects which aim at budget reform and CAP reform post 2013. Among a plethora of policy papers there is a fresh one by Eulalia Rubio ‘EUBudget Review: Addressing the Thorny Issues’, published 7 March 2008. The CAP 2013 project is preparing proposals. A presentation including links to preparatory work is offered in English on the following web page (although the French page has been updated later):


An official tour of CAP legislation and the budget can start from the Commission’s SCADPlus web page Agriculture: General framework:


Ralf Grahn

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