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The Birth of the CAP


  • David R. Stead


Fifty years ago, a Conference was held at Stresa which could be said to be the single event that most appropriately marks the birth of the CAP. Although five policy objectives had been written into the 1957 Treaty of Rome, these have been widely criticised for being vague and contradictory, and the Treaty contained very few stipulations on the specific policy instruments to be adopted. The Stresa Conference made important, but incomplete, progress towards finalising the policy framework. Most notably, it was generally agreed to avoid a level of price support that created unwanted commodity surpluses and inhibited structural adjustment. But these good intentions, and the positive 'European spirit' of the Conference, began to unravel as soon as the fraught decisions were taken on the details of unifying the protectionist agricultural policies of six different countries. In particular, the decision to fix the initial level of common cereals prices at the upper end of the national spread set an unsatisfactory reference point for other support prices; and an attempt to introduce a genuine common structural policy was rejected. At the turn of the 1970s, the CAP was clearly unbalanced and protectionist, but the Community's first fully-fledged common policy had been constructed. Copyright (c) 2008 The Author. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Ecomomics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • David R. Stead, 2008. "The Birth of the CAP," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 7(SpecialIs), pages 6-12, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:eurcho:v:7:y:2008:i:specialissuecap:p:6-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Muhammad, Andrew & Seale, James L. & Meade, Birgit Gisela Saager & Regmi, Anita, 2011. "International Evidence on Food Consumption Patterns: An Update Using 2005 International Comparison Program Data," Technical Bulletins 184306, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Silvia Coderoni & Laura Valli & Maurizio Canavari, 2015. "Climate Change Mitigation Options in the Italian Livestock Sector," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 14(1), pages 17-24, April.
    3. Rafael Oliveira Silva & Luis Gustavo Barioni & Dominic Moran, 2015. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation through Sustainable Intensification of Livestock Production in the Brazilian Cerrado," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 14(1), pages 28-34, April.
    4. Hugo Valin & Ronald D. Sands & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Gerald C. Nelson & Helal Ahammad & Elodie Blanc & Benjamin Bodirsky & Shinichiro Fujimori & Tomoko Hasegawa & Petr Havlik & Edwina Heyhoe, 2014. "The future of food demand: understanding differences in global economic models," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(1), pages 51-67, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Ackrill & Adrian Kay & Wyn Morgan, 2008. "The Common Agricultural Policy and Its Reform: The Problem of Reconciling Budget and Trade Concerns," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 56(4), pages 393-411, December.

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