Since the 90s, successive reforms of the CAP have progressively introduced environmental considerations into the policy’s goals. However, the CAP remains a sectorial policy intended to modernise the tools of production and support farmers’ income. The agri-environmental measures (AEM) represent the CAP’s most focused environmental initiatives, but they are granted a relatively modest budget, are dependent on voluntary adoption (with a low rate of uptake) and their limited duration makes significant structural changes difficult. Making aid payments conditional and subject to the respect of sanitary and environmental regulations is not a very efficient system, because the payments are not proportional to the environmental services rendered. While the majority of farm income support is financed by the European budget, support for public goods comes from the Ministries of External Affairs, with funding from both the European budget and the regions, with a continuous rise of the European contribution. Now, the aid to the farm income ensuring a certain degree of social cohesion is much more a regional or national matter than a European one, while some public goods provided through agriculture benefit to all the European citizens. The provision of some of the public goods through agriculture is therefore an opportunity to re-found the CAP around purposes common to the Member States, and dedicating the agricultural public aid to the production of public goods becomes a central issue.


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