The Agricultural Strata in
The European Union and
The Common Agricultural Policy
More than three decades after the formation of the European Economic Community and the implementation of a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), significant differences still exist among the agricultural strata and in the structures of agriculture of all the member countries. This is the unavoidable result of the different social, political, and historical development and the natural and climatic characteristics of these countries.
As might be expected, the implementation of a Common Agricultural Policy affects the agriculture of the member countries in different ways (depending upon the level of development and the particular characteristics of each country). At the same time, it may lead to a gradual homogenization of the structure of agriculture between the countries that follow the common path of European integration. It must also not be forgotten that the creation of an institutional framework for agricultural development common to all the member countries (i.e., of the Common Agricultural Policy) means the equal handling of unequal and different subjects, that is, of different member countries. This creates serious impasses and necessitates policies of a redistributive and structural nature.
Within the confines of a chapter in this volume, we think it will be useful to attempt at the beginning an analysis of the inequalities and the differences in the agricultural structure of twelve of the member states of the European Union (formerly the European Community), in order for the variety of the interests of the agricultural strata of all these countries to be understood.
Then we will go on to a brief analysis of the mechanisms of the Common Agricultural Policy. More concretely, we will analyze the reform attempt intended to confront the impasses in the implementation of this policy, which