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The CAP and EU Enlargement: A Missed Opportunity
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Dr Carmen Hubbard
Dr Matthew Gorton
Dr Lionel Hubbard
Hubbard MC, Gorton M, Hubbard L
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Accession of Central and Eastern European countries failed to prompt a widespread review of agricultural and rural policy within the European Union. Despite the unprecedented scale and scope of the accession, the existing policy regime was preserved. Rather than fostering European integration through mutual adaptation, a process of emulation ensured that it was the task of acceding countries to adjust to the EU. Under the Common Agricultural Policy, the centrality of Pillar I and its main instrument, direct payments, remain intact. Even under Pillar II, farm-centric measures dominate. This fosters a poor match between the CAP and the real rural development needs of the New Member States. Mitigation of the structural problems confronting rural areas in CEE is critical to meeting the challenge of effective EU integration. Insufficient reform prior to accession is likely to entrench, at least in the short to medium term, a farm-centric CAP in CEE, delivering minimal benefits to those most in need, and hindering wider adjustment of EU agricultural and rural policy. That these issues have not been adequately addressed reflects a failure of the EU to adjust its outlook from being exclusively West European to pan-European.
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