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45 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (2007)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks45 and id is 1 raw text is: 

JCMS  2007  Volume 45. Number  1. pp. 1-22

The Politics of CAP Reform: Trade

Negotiations, Institutional Settings and

Blame Avoidance*

University of Aarhus
University of Reading


In this article we argue that the conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement
on Agriculture and the subsequent role of the WTO   has changed  the international
context of CAP policy-making. However, comparing  the three latest CAP reforms, we
demonstrate that pressures on the CAP arising from international trade negotiations
cannot alone account for the way in which the EU responds in terms of CAP reform.
The institutional setting within which the reform package was determined also played
a crucial role. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the CoAM seems to be a more
conducive  setting than the European Council for undertaking substantial reform of
the CAP. We  suggest that the choice of institutional setting is influenced by the desire
of farm ministers and of heads of state or government to avoid blame for unpopular
decisions. When CAP  reform is an integral part of a broader package, farm ministers
pass the final decision to the European Council and when CAP reform is defined as
a separate issue the European Council avoids involvement.


Since  its inception in the 1960s, the European  Union's  common agricultural
policy (CAP)   has undergone  a number   of incremental changes,  often referred

* We thank a number of individuals who have helped us in this long endeavour: Arlindo Cunha for his
early encouragement; the participants of the 2004 meeting of the Danish network of agricultural policy
researchers, Wyn Grant, Philippa Sherrington and the JCMS's referees for helpful comments on earlier
drafts. But we cannot shift onto them the blame for any errors, omissions, or misinterpretations that remain.
Carsten Daugbjerg is grateful to the Danish Social Science Research Council for funding.

C 2007 The Author(s)
Journal compilation C 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street Malden, MA 02148,

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