Subsidies kept farming afloat for 50 years
Published 30/01/2010 | 05:00
The Common Agricultural Policy is the system by which the EU subsidises farming and food production throughout Europe.
It was first introduced 50 years ago to tackle post-war food shortages.
It provides €42bn a year, over €37bn of which goes to Europe's 12 million farmers through direct payments based on the size of landholdings and, in some countries such as Ireland, the level of historical subsidies that were paid in the past.
The remaining €5bn is spent on a range of measures such as export refunds and market subsidies, food safety and measures to tackle animal disease.
A major debate has erupted in recent months over the future of the CAP after 2013.