How does the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) affect Europe’s rural areas?

The following European Commission document takes stock of the results of the external evaluation study on the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on generational renewal, local development and employment in rural areas.

Strengthening the socio-economic fabric of rural areas is a key of the Eu’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), including generational renewal (GR). This evaluation assessed how the current CAP affects GR in rural Europe, also local development and jobs. It examined Young Farmer (YF) and other CAP measures aiming to attract young people to farm, live and work in rural areas. Methods included literature review, EU survey, interviews and workshops, data analysis using correlation, multicriteria, comparative econometric and CGE modelling, and case studies in seven contrasting Member States (MS). It concluded CAP GR measures have a positive impact on YF numbers, business performance and local employment, varying from very minor to significant according to local context.

According to this analysis, aids are most effective and efficient delivered in mixed-measure packages combining planning, investment, collaboration and advice, and conditional on beneficiary training. Impact is enhanced where institutional and fiscal policies ease access to land and capital. In very marginal areas, aid for rural diversification and services is also vital. The study recommended a more holistic, flexible and strategic approach to GR in the future CAP, also increased MS emphasis upon new entrants, innovation and rural quality of life provision.