What is it about?

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a core policy of the European Union (EU), representing 40 per cent of the EU budget and a cornerstone of the integration process. Due to the path dependency that defined its evolution, it had always been a rather homogeneous and centralized policy. For the first time, the 2014–20 reform endowed Member States with the possibility to tailor the direct payments of the CAP along different fields of flexibility and thereby better address their national needs. This article examines these national choices in terms of the discontinuity they impose on the centralized policy model, showing that they reduced the policy inertia associated to the historical processes in place at the EU level, along a new national path dependency re-shaping the CAP implementation. The flexibility introduced by the 2014–20 reform was particularly embraced by Member States that had been penalized by the ‘one-size-fits-all’ historical archetype.

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Why is it important?

Our results suggest that the MSs’ specific features and heterogeneity interact with the EU historical paths of the CAP implementation. The introduction of flexibility in the CAP 2014-20 not only entailed a reduction in the policy inertia associated with unbending historical processes at the EU level, but also a national path dependency appeared to start shaping the implementation of the CAP, given the higher level of flexibility granted to the MSs.


With a view to a further extension of the flexibility granted to Member States this article represents a starting point to understand the changes that will intervene under the CAP post 2020

Maria Rosaria Pupo D'Andrea
CREA Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy

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This page is a summary of: The New Common Agricultural Policy: Ηow do Member States Respond to Flexibility?, JCMS Journal of Common Market Studies, September 2017, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12607.
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