Role of interest groups in policy reform: Overview of the Common Agricultural Policy and specific focus on France




Texier, Elodie

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The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the causal relationship between the intensive farmers-government interaction in agricultural policy and the perverse and suboptimal outcomes in the view of taxpayers and consumers. This analysis focused on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU. Created with the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 by the six founding countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany), the CAP represented for many years the only common policy fully administered at the European level and the largest item in the EU budget. It is strongly rooted in the European integration project and it represents the cornerstone of EU agriculture. Although a model of policy integration at the supranational level, it has also been the source of much criticism about its cost and its perverse effects. Nevertheless, the latest reform of the CAP, approved in 2013, demonstrates that agricultural policy remains of utmost importance at the EU level. This research is based on two major assumptions: First, it was possible to maintain political support for the Common Agricultural Policy because it fulfilled social and economic purposes that justified its existence. Second, interest group activity is often perceived negatively and there is not much information on its positive role in the policy process. This thesis draws from the literature on European governance in order to analyze the role of interest groups in the policy process and their impact on policy outcomes.



interest representation, interest group, agriculture, European governance, Common Agricultural Policy, policy reform