Definition of the Common Agricultural Policy from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Common Agricultural Policy

; NAmE
(abbreviation the CAP)
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the policy introduced in 1962 by the European Community, now the European Union, to protect European farmers. Under the system, farmers were paid even if they produced food that was not needed. Too much food was produced as a result, and this was given names such as the 'butter mountain' and the 'wine lake'. This great waste of money caused much argument about how to improve the system, and in the 1980s some changes were made. One of the solutions (called set-aside) was to pay farmers not to produce food in some of their fields. When ten new members joined the EU in 2004 further changes were introduced to reduce the CAP budget.