Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Ricard RAMON
Other Organisations


In its 2017 Programme of work the European Commission announced that it would “take forward work and consult widely on simplification and modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy to maximise its contribution to the Commission's ten priorities and to the Sustainable Development Goals. Accordingly Commissionner Hogan asks all citizens and stakeholders interested in the future of EU food and farming to contribute to the process to modernize and simplify the Common Agricultural Policy. This process included an open and transparent public consultation, which has enabled stakeholders and citizens across Europe to voice their opinion on EU agriculture, rural areas and the CAP; however, the process also involved meetings with the stakeholders and a large Conference. PC  confirmed a widespread consensus on the idea that the current CAP tools successfully addresses current challenges to some extent only and confirmed the challenges identified with the lessons learnt from the latest CAP.

Participation Spectrum

When and Where

Start Year
Other Country

Policy Context

Specific Topic
Modernising and simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy. Maximinsing its contribution to SDGs and Commission priorities implies interaction with many other policy fields.


Other participants
Communities or representatives involved
- A citizen not involved in farming;
- A citizen involved in a family farm;
- A citizen involved in a farm with a different legal structure;
- A citizen involved in farming, but who does not know which type of structure to indicate.

How were the Participants selected?
Through what means citizens knew about the call for participation?
Commissioner Phil Hogan at Press Conference to Launch the Public Consultation on #FutureofCAP - 2nd February 2017 and Europa website


Methodologies used
Methodology description
Public questionnaire included 28 closed questions and 5 open questions. Five workshops were organised to exchange with experts and gather evidence on selected topics relating to environment, climate, food and socio-economic challenges. A public conference was held in July 2017 to share the outcomes of the PC and workshops. There were exchanges with the REFIT Platform. JRC organised focus groups with farmers to get behavioural insights on how to improve their environmental and climate performance.

- 3 meetings with the Civil Dialogue Group back to back with public consultation;
- 5 expert workshops;
- 1 big conference.
Tools Used
Spaces Used


Main Outcomes and Lasting Achievement
The participants considered that the current CAP successfully addresses the existing challenges to some extent only (57%). This view is shared among different types of respondents. All types of respondents also share a negative reply when assessing to what extent the current CAP addresses the environmental challenges (63%). The excess of bureaucracy and lack of attention to sustainability was often highlighted as the main problems/obstacles preventing the current policy from successfully delivering on its objectives.The call for a reduction of administrative burden is a generalised demand in the papers submitted by farmers and public administrations. The wider public also raised a series of concerns on how agriculture interacts with the environment, clima animal welfare, food safety and consumer protection, health standards and broader sustainability challenges.

How were the outcome taken up within the process they were carried out?
The outcome of the on-line public consultation, together with other consultation activities, fed into the Communication on “Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy” as well as the impact assessment and the legislative proposals for the future of the CAP.

See in particular, impact assessment, Annex 2
Feedback provided
Other Feedback
A summary of the results of the open public consultation will be published on europa website.


Reason for such challenges and solutions
- Issue of campaigns, replication of similar answers versus 1 answer representing the concerted view of an organisation gathering several members, or 1 answer crafted by an engaged citizen.
- Social media amplifying campaigns.
- Public consultations not statistically representative.despite number of answers and resources involved.
Lessons Learn
The public consultation and subsequent analysis also revealed concerns around three significant tensions that characterise modern agriculture in its transformation towards what is often termed as Farming 4.0 (digital farming). These tensions relate to:
- the need to improve simultaneously the economic and environmental and climate performance, which sometimes creates a short-term trade-off (the public consultation illustrated different perceptions on economic and environmental challenges);
- the risk for employment from efforts to raise productivity and growth, especially in the primary farm sector;
- the often-complex trade-off between simplification and targeting, and the appropriate degree of subsidiarity in the context of very different structural characteristics in the farming sector of 28 MS.

In its legislative proposals, the Commission proposed a balanced approach along the 3 components of sustainable development.
- High requirements regarding human, financial resources and timing.
- Communication before and after public consultations.
- This is about the opinion-based part of policy making, in addition more is needed for the evidence-base.