Trends and Transformations in European Agricultural Economy, Rural Communities and Food Sustainability in Context of New Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reforms

Trends and Transformations in European Agricultural Economy, Rural Communities and Food Sustainability in Context of New Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reforms

Andrei Jean-Vasile (Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Romania) and Alexandra Alecu (Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9621-9.ch043


Agriculture continues to be quite a debate for the last two and a half decades at least at the European level and for Romania Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms has a big impact in developing the convergence to the European agricultural model. Agriculture becomes nowadays a multirole economic sector, with major implications on rural community's sustainability and on food security assurance. In this context, the transformations in European agricultural economy, rural communities and food sustainability in context of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms represent an important research topic in the context of EU-28 policy diversification from the larger context of Romanian approach.
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Refocusing economic activities towards high productivity sectors capable of generating a comparable standard of living and welfare for the population required a major reorientation of production structures, including resource allocation funding and resource mobilization work. In this context, agriculture has proven to be one of those sectors affected by these changes.

Numerous studies have tried to highlight these transformations, starting from various parts of the analysis. Thus (Piotet et al., 2002; Kilian and Salhofer, 2008), Petrick and Zier, 2012), investigate the effects of direct payments and rural development measures of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on employment in agriculture. On the other side, (Luca, 2007; Montiel et al., 2014; Dwibedia and Chaudhurib, 2014) tries in their studies to provide a theoretical explanation why the agricultural subsidy policies fails in ensuring the well-being of the poor working families in terms of a three-sector general equilibrium. Ciutacu et al.2015 tries to identify and explain the similarities and dissimilarities between the EU agricultural and rural development model and Romanian agriculture.

The changes occurred globally in the evolution of agricultural area, as share of land area demonstrates once again that interest towards increasing the agricultural potential, despite diminishing the agricultural area, is still a viable objective for most world economies, based on the need to increase the level of food security. Figure 1 illustrates the evolution of agricultural area as share of land area in some global economies, during 1992 – 2012.

Figure 1.

Evolution of agricultural area as share of land area, in global economies, 1992-2012

Source: Authors based EUROSTAT (2015a)

From the analysis of Figure 1 it can be seen that during 1992-2012, the evolution of agricultural area as share of land area in some global economies was negative for most economies given. So it can be seen that the values of EU-28 decreased by 4.9%, while in other economies are recorded slight increases in resource consolidation of land used, as in Argentina (+ 7.4%), Brazil (+ 1.2%) and Mexico (+ 0.1%).

In spite of systematic transformations of the national economic structures due to increasing markets globalization and movements in productivity, rural areas continue to be an important component in the national economy of every state, mobilizing important and diverse resources. Taken from a sectorial perspective, rural areas are affected, at least at European level, by numerous and significant mutations which reflect both changes in agricultural policy and new approaches to integrated rural development and multifunctionality of agriculture.

Rural areas constitute a defining element in achieving economic and social governmental politics and by continuous reporting toward urban areas, dilute its significance, transforming rural areas in an amorphous space in which the only significant activity is agriculture. To erase these false premise comparisons between rural and urban areas has to stop and then, the accent has to be on outlining the multifunctional character of rural areas that can also be able to develop activities from secondary and tertiary sectors. From this perspective Figure 2 and Figure 3 analyzes the changes in the structure of the rural economy, both sectorial (primary, secondary and tertiary) and from an environmental perspective (rural, intermediate and urban) in terms of weight and significance of the primary sector (agriculture).

Figure 2.

Change in the structure of the rural economy, in some EU-28 countries, 2008-2011

Source: Authors’ own computation based on European Commission (2014)

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