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Food security as a Driver of Integration in Europe

Alan Matthews

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 466

The integration of agricultural markets and policy has played a major role in European Union (EU) integration, acting as both driver and brake at various periods. Food security was one of the motives behind the creation of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), although its importance has varied over time. Regional integration arrangements often extend to agriculture, but the EU is a rare example where competence in agricultural policy-making is transferred to the supranational level. This chapter traces the early history of the CAP and the fatal decision to fix internal support prices at levels much higher than world market prices. Dealing with the consequences of that decision took the following three decades to reform. During this period, agricultural market integration sometimes threatened to de-rail the wider EU integration project but also gave rise to new institutions and practices which drove integration forward. Based on this examination of the drivers of integration in the EU agricultural sector, the chapter draws conclusions and lessons for similar initiatives in Asia and other regions.

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Last updated 8 January 2015 by IIIS (Email).