Common Agricultural Policy Path for Old and New Members
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The European Union is not able to maintain CAP in its current form any more: radical reform is unavoidable. The recent past review of the CAP (Health Check) may help to reach a healthier CAP, but the proposed changes are not enough to overcome the difficulties. The future CAP meeting certain criteria – such as providing European added value, maintaining sustainability in economic, social and environmental terms – should be based on completely new principles. While defining these new principles and cornerstones of the policy it has to be taken into account that there is an ongoing paradigm change: there is a shift from the agricultural policy aiming at food self sufficiency and income parity towards a sustainable rural policy with spatial focus. The shift, itself is considered a continuous challenge, too. As an option could be considered a switch from direct payments to a flat rate payment based on public goods and fully decoupled plus complementary subsidies on regional base that is considered indeed to be targeted support for the provision of public goods. Another tool should be aimed at promoting and strengthening the viability of rural economy and society. It would serve on the one hand structural adjustment and new integrated risk and crisis management. On the other hand its objective would be the developing, strengthening of rural communities (improvement in the quality of rural life, support for local communities, maintenance of landscape are of higher importance). In order to create new effective policy tools – and justify that the abovementioned could be the future of CAP – and be able to attain the new objectives the following question definitely has to be asked: Do the past results, the future interest, the challenges and most of all financial possibilities – support from the EU and the national budget – of the old and new MSs differ or are these more or less similar? The paper is mainly aimed at analysing past and present agricultural expenditure originating in the EU and the national budget compared to the total EU expenditure, GNI, and GDP by means of quantitative methods. Furthermore it intends to study the trends of agricultural payments in the MSs and figure out whether the financial support is to be justified in the future.