Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
Common Agricultural and Cohesion Policy
in the Europe 2020 Strategy
Antonio González Temprano *
Date received: August 27, 2012. Date accepted: January 17, 2013

This work analyzes the most recent evolution of the eu’s two major policies, the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy, as well as the reforms made to adjust these policies to match the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy. This research focuses on the expense budget of the Financial Framework 2006-2013, and the role it is playing in achieving a more harmonious Europe in sector and territorial terms, which has been the backbone objective of the eu since its founding. The work concludes that during the first half of this Financial Framework, the Union continued to progress to greater sector cohesion, but territorial convergence policies related to the eu15 have been weakened, despite the fact that income dispersion has been multiplied due to expansions in 2004 and 2007. Paradoxically, the twelve countries incorporated in those years have been fundamentally affected by this weakening.

Keywords: Europe 2020 Strategy, Expenses, cap, Cohesion Policy, European Union.

The eu pursues two main goals, among other objectives. The first is to regulate agricultural activities, for which the Common Agricultural Policy (herewith referred to as the cap) exists, implemented in 1962. The second is economic, social and territorial cohesion, a much more complex objective governed by a policy of the same name, originally laid out in the 1986 Single European Act. Both policies have shaped the European project over the past quarter century.

The importance of these policies is evident in a variety of ways. We shall begin with the most obvious: their share of the eu Spending Budget (Table 1). In the current multiannual cycle, the 2007-2013 Financial Framework, the two policies represented 78% of the budget, with the cap corresponding to 42% and cohesion policy to 36%. To be clear, since the implementation of multiannual cycles (1988), spending for the cap has been losing ground as cohesion policy has been gaining.

Another factor that indicates the relevance of these two policies is their role in redistributing income. The cap deals with sector redistribution as its payments imply a real transfer of wealth from industry and services to agriculture, although territorial distribution is also at play: assistance from the cap favors growth of zones that are underdeveloped because agriculture is their dominant sector. Moreover, its rural policy section drives cohesion among rural zones. Redistribution in the cohesion policy is primarily territorial: it destines the majority of its appropriations to lagging States and regions with the goal of increasing their income to that of the community average. There is thus no lack of reasons to describe the cap and the cohesion policy tools that are meant to increase cooperation, as the majority of their resources are directed towards lower income activities or areas.

The reforms that these policies have undergone in the second half of the 2007-2013 cycle are another sign of their relevance. These changes respond to the limits that have recently become clear, as well as the need to adjust them to the Europe 2020 Strategy2 . Without these policies, progress towards a more sectorally and territorially cohesive Europe would be inconceivable.

The fact that these two policies make up the majority of the eu budget, are oriented towards cooperation, are being subject to review to better adjust them to the Europe 2020 Strategy, giving them key importance in achieving the objectives proposed for the next decade, is, from this author’s point of view, sufficient reason to undertake their study in the final portion of the 2007-2013 multiannual cycle.

1 This is a treaty signed by the twelve countries that made up the European Community at the time. Its central objective was to foster conditions to reach internal markets by guaranteeing the free circulation of goods, services, capital and people. This objective became reality on January 1, 1993. This is the first Treaty that dedicates a chapter to economic and social cohesion.

* Researcher at the Complutense University in Madrid. e-mail: temprano@cps.ucm.es

2 This is the eu growth strategy for the next decade. Adopted in the 2010 European Council, it establishes three objectives: intelligent growth, sustainable growth and inclusive growth.

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 194 July-September 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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