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Policy case studies for Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)

Narrative selected

The narrative chosen is one of several identified about tensions and opposing objectives within the CAP. The text below summarises the narrative and is a synthesis of materials drawn from document analysis and interviews with the Commission and related institutions.

Narrative - The basis of EU farm competitiveness and its wider consequences.

"CAP aims to ensure European agricultural competitiveness in the world market and aims to deliver public goods such as biodiversity conservation, water quality and climate change mitigation. These aims are in opposition."

The narrative is provocatively stated. The researchers accept the view, articulated by some DG staff, that the outcomes of competitiveness and public goods are not always in opposition. The narrative was, however, expressed in this form sufficiently often, and sufficiently forcefully, that it merited assessment.

Why was this narrative selected »

This narrative highlights the potential for a specific tension to exist in the CAP between the promotion of competitiveness and the delivery of public goods. The proposed analysis would use the Quantitative Story Telling approaches in MAGIC to assess at decadal time intervals the relative levels of competitiveness of outputs from the EU (regionally where possible). Competitiveness would not only be seen through comparison with world market prices but also in terms of intensity of resource use, dependence on imports and the potential to generate negative externalities. The analysis would thus assess the associated changes in sector structure, and the funds and flows of public goods. The intention would be to open a debate on how competitiveness is conceptualised, how it has changed over time and how (or if) changes to the CAP have affected competitiveness and the provision of public goods. There was also interest in how the concept of ‘public goods’ could be defined and operationalised in the QST framework. The narrative was deemed as having greatest interest from among a set of five narratives (see the Appendix to this document) by those stakeholders who could respond to requests for preferences.

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