Agricultural Policy and Policy Processes
Despite the fact that it accounts for only 2.5 per cent of EU GDP and 5.5 per cent of EU employment, agriculture looms large in the life of the EU. It does so in three main ways. First, the EU has, via the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), major policy-making and decision-making responsibilities for agriculture. Indeed, agriculture is the most integrated of the EU’s sectoral policies. Second, as the major recipient of EU funds — accounting for almost half of total annual expenditure — agriculture is central to EU budgetary deliberations. Third, there is a greater institutional presence and activity in the agricultural field than in any other: the Agriculture Ministers normally meet more frequently than the ministers all other Councils except for the Foreign Ministers; uniquely, Agriculture Council meetings are prepared not by COREPER but by a special body, the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA); DGVI (Agriculture) is the second largest of the Commission’s Directorates General (only DGIX is larger and that deals not with a policy sector but with Personnel and Administration); and there are far more Council working parties and Commission management and advisory groups in the sphere of agriculture than in any other single policy area.
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