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This paper has been developed from a ten-country study to examine the nature and key points of the ongoing discussions about the next major reform of the CAP, after 2013. The study involved analysis of stakeholder statements and opinions in response to the Commission’s November 2010 Communication ‘The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial changes of the future’, as well as more recent responses to the subsequent Impact Assessment and the October 2011 release of the Draft legislative proposals for the policy in the 2014-2020 period. Individual case studies for each country were then subject to comparative analysis which was used to stimulate discussion at an international policy conference. Our paper makes reference to Erjavec et al’s (2010) political economy analysis of the changing discourse in Brussels, in order to contrast this with the heavily path-dependent attitudes and negotiating stances found among many of the Member States, despite the fact that most stakeholder groups have consistent views across national boundaries. In this context, therefore, what looks from Brussels like a balanced and consensus-oriented reform package may still fail to offer a clear way forward for the Council and the Parliament.


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