EU and Agriculture

EU farm policy – known as the common agricultural policy (CAP) – ensures adequate European food production goes hand in hand with economically viable rural communities and action on environmental challenges such as climate change, water management, bioenergy and biodiversity.

Agriculture and forests cover the vast majority of the EU territory and play a key role in determining the health of rural economies as well as the rural landscape. Agriculture still has a valuable contribution to make to sustainable economic development. Farmers perform many different functions ranging from food and non-food agricultural production to countryside management, nature conservation, and tourism. Farming can thus be described as having multiple functions.

  • Europe is both a major exporter and the world’s largest importer of food, mainly from developing countries
  • European farming sector uses safe, clean, environmentally-friendly production methods providing quality products to meet consumers’ demands
  • The EU farming sector serves rural communities. Its role is not only to produce food but also to guarantee the survival of the countryside as a place to live, work and visit

Europe’s agricultural policy is determined at EU level by the governments of Member States and is then implemented by them. It is aimed at supporting farmers’ incomes while also encouraging them to produce high quality products demanded by the market and to seek new development opportunities, such as renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources.

In the process of acquiring full membership of the European Union, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is entitled to pre-accession financial aid for sustainable agriculture and rural development with a focus on preparations for the Common Agricultural Policy.

Through Component V of the IPA programme the EU contributes to sustainable rural development. It provides financial assistance for the restructuring of agriculture and the food processing sector and its adaptation to EU standards in the areas of production efficiency, environmental protection, public health, animal and plant health, animal welfare, rural diversification and occupational safety. It is open to candidate countries only and is managed by Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

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