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In the early years of European integration, a shared desire to increase food production and restructure agriculture led to the development of the common agricultural policy (CAP). 60 years later, the CAP is the longest-running European Union (EU) policy, providing vital support to farmers, rural areas and the entire agri-food system across the EU. It accounts for 31% of the total EU budget for the 2021–2027 period.

An agreement on the sixth major reform of the CAP was formally adopted in December 2021, with the new CAP due to apply from 2023. It will seek to ensure a sustainable future for European farmers, provide more targeted support to smaller farms, and allow greater flexibility for EU Member States to adapt measures to local conditions.

This will pave the way for a fairer, greener and more performance-based CAP, which will provide a stable, safe and healthy food supply for EU citizens. Agriculture and rural areas are central elements of the European Green Deal, and the new CAP will be a key tool in reaching the ambitions of the farm-to-fork and biodiversity strategies.