2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), one of the pillars of the integration and consolidation process of European economic and social development. The CAP has made it possible for European citizens to ensure security in food supply and economic sustainability in the rural world, which is one of the distinctive features of Europe.
Much has changed in 50 years. New conditions raise new challenges which the CAP seeks to meet, by incorporating new objectives and instruments and by affirming the European agricultural and rural models and their diversity.
Today, European society expects not only that the CAP continues to ensure food safety and quality, but also that it does so through the sustainable use of natural resources and with respect for the future generations, that it contributes to mitigating the risks associated with climate change, and that, especially in the case of Southern countries, it contributes to prevent desertification.
There are multiple and complex challenges facing European society. While starting a new programming period until 2020, the CAP can be a powerful tool for economic development and social cohesion, objectives to which it contributes by supporting the production of food and raw materials as well as public goods such as the maintenance of biodiversity and the rural landscape, the sequestration of greenhouse gases, the maintenance of soil and the water cycle. Achieving these goals requires a strong public policy, comprehensive in its options, based on common rules and with sufficient means to promote the sustainable development of agriculture throughout the EU.
At EU level, Portugal will continue to contribute, together with its European partners, to reaching a consensus that may allow the CAP to perform its required functions.
At national level, Portugal will ensure that policy instruments contribute to increasing the value generated by the agricultural, forest and agro-industrial sectors throughout the country, thus contributing to social cohesion and equity and ensuring continuity in the production of environmental goods and in mitigating climate change and desertification.
The Office of Planning and Policy will continue to contribute to the CAP and to its implementation in Portugal, with the support of both organisations and partners, in an inclusive process involving all the relevant players that allows the definition, application and monitoring of simple and transparent policy instruments, which will further the objectives set for Portugal and for the common future of the European Union.