The EU27 is history, with Croatia becoming the 28th member state of the European Union today. On last week’s European Council meeting, the ‘old’ members had other issues in mind, as the common agricultural policy (CAP) was one of the critical issues in negotiating a new seven year budget. The proposed changes in subsidies in this field of spending are quite important, as this part of the EU policies started a process of considerable changes in the agricultural landscapes in Europe over the years. The area of spending is not least relevant, as together with the rural development funding agriculture counts for almost 40% of the budget (see this map series about EU spending for more details).
The agreements that were reached are also significant, as the agricultural budget mainly serves the economically and politically strongest countries in the European Union. The following cartogram shows the redistribution of spending on the agricultural markets within the EU27 in 2011 (the most recent data available from the European Commission), which counts for €44,898 million of the overall €129,394 million budget:
Whether the CAP agreements will lead to changes in the agricultural sector remains to be seen – the proposed deal still needs approval and more importantly needs to be put into practice, where the redistribution of the distorted spending away from the wealthier member states as shown above but also the distribution within the member states towards less industrialised farms and more eco friendly production will be the critical issues for a real change in the common agricultural policy. Where the huge amount of money will go in future therefore matters a lot in changing course – which according to many environmental groups will not happen with the agreements that have been made.
Explore the data behind the EU budget from the below interactive feature. The data shown in the cartogram above is included in the item “2.0.11 Agriculture Markets” which can be selected by using the dropdown menu labelled ‘TOTAL EXPENDITURE’: