Following an introduction explaining the genesis of the paper, section II briefly reviews some relevant literature and concepts. On the basis of this review, section III develops an outline evolutionary model of policy development. Section IV outlines the history and present status of the EU policy (here illustrated by the cereals policy which is taken as archetypal for the CAP as a whole) within this framework. Thus, it characterises the policy history in broad evolutionary terms, emphasising the "fitness for purpose" of various manifestations of the policy organism. The key conclusion from this section is that the present policy situation cannot be described as "fit" - it is subject to too much conflict between its pheno-genotype and the present (rather new) policy environment. This conclusion is in distinct contrast to more conventional views about the status of the present policy and to the current view from within the policy-making bureaucracy. Section V develops some of the implications of this analysis for the future development of the policy. Section VI offers some broad conclusions.