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Glossary:Common agricultural policy (CAP)

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The Common agricultural policy, abbreviated as CAP, is the European Union agricultural policy.

CAP is an area in which competence is shared between the EU and the Member States. Under Article 33 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, its aims are to ensure reasonable prices for Europe's consumers and fair incomes for farmers, in particular through the common organisation of agricultural markets and by enforcing compliance with the principles adopted at the Stresa Conference in 1958, namely single prices, financial solidarity and Community preference.

The CAP is one of the most important EU policies from a budget point of view: agricultural spending accounts for some 45% of the EU budget. Qualified majority voting in the Council and consultation with the European Parliament decide policy. The CAP has fulfilled its main goal of food self-sufficiency in the EU. Major policy changes, however, proved necessary in order to correct imbalances and overproduction resulting from the CAP. Therefore, its aims have changed in the course of time, and the instruments used have also evolved as a result of successive reforms.

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