If there were a prize for the most reviled European Union policy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would most likely be the winner. This is remarkable because for decades the CAP has been at the heart of European integration and it was the policy area where most of the money of the European Community went. Initially consuming almost the whole budget, the share of agriculture in total EU spending has declined only slowly and now stands at about 40 per cent (European Commission, 2015b). The heydays of the CAP were the decades in which European integration was still an unquestioned good. Nonetheless, the policy was unpopular already then, although it achieved its most obvious purpose spectacularly – European self-sufficiency with regard to food. This was no mean feat after the deprivations of the immediate World War II period. Another objective was to placate and satisfy a group of voters, namely farmers, which in many countries used to be core constituencies of conservative parties and were often prone to follow right-wing demagogues. Producers in other areas of the world produce food at much lower cost – therefore European farmers had to be protected from the impact of world markets. They needed a fair standard of living, especially compared to the rising post-war wages of industrial workers (Rieger, 2005).
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