European leaders have last chance for a decade to overhaul CAP

Published: 15 December 2005

EU leaders meeting in Brussels tomorrow have the last chance for almost a decade to agree an overhaul of Common Agricultural Policy financing. Oxfam International calls on Heads of State and Government at the two-day European Summit to agree to a fundamental overhaul of the CAP in 2008. This must go further than the 2003 review which failed to properly address the issue of redistribution of subsidies in Europe or dumping on developing countries.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels tomorrow have the last chance for almost a decade to agree an overhaul of Common Agricultural Policy financing.


Oxfam International calls on Heads of State and Government at the two-day European Summit to agree to a fundamental overhaul of the CAP in 2008. This must go further than the 2003 review which failed to properly address the issue of redistribution of subsidies in Europe or dumping on developing countries.

Oxfam’s Luis Morago, said: “Never before has there been such universal condemnation of the CAP from Brussels to Hong Kong. CAP has now become a byword for inequity and European leaders must not pass up this chance to agree a full-scale revamp of the farm payment regime. Failure to do so would sentence small farmers in Europe and the developing world to another nine years of misery.”

Europe must show leadership, agree to fundamental reform of CAP and send a clear message to negotiators at the WTO in Hong Kong that it is serious about agricultural reform.

A root and branch review of the financing may not be possible again until 2014 when the next EU budget for 2014 to 2020 is discussed. Without changes to the current system, any review before then could not deliver on fundamental changes to the way the CAP is financed.

Morago adds: “If this moment is lost the EU will be not only be failing the majority of farmers in its own backyard but continuing to harm poor country farmers and driving millions deeper into poverty. We need CAP reform that ends dumping, promotes rural development and environmentally sustainable farming.”

Oxfam also wants open and transparent public debate about the future of agriculture spending based on the public disclosure of CAP payments by all EU member states – the majority of which still keep details of payments secret.

Oxfam has shown that at least €3.6 billion dollars in agricultural payments made by the EU are illegal under WTO rules. These payments do huge damage by encouraging over-production and the dumping of unwanted farm products on the doorstep of poor countries.

In addition, Oxfam is concerned that the EU and US – who itself has €7.9 billion worth of illegal farm payments – are talking behind closed doors at the WTO in Hong Kong about a proposal to renew the “peace clause” which would enable the subsidy superpowers to get away scot free with their illegal payments.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Louis Belanger, Oxfam press officer in Brussels on +32 473 562 260
Harriet Binet, Oxfam press officer in Oxford on +44 (0) 1865 472313 +44 (0) 7786 110054