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The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was first introduced in 1962, to ensure that Europe had secure food supplies at affordable prices. But it became a victim of its own success, generating unwanted surpluses of some products such as beef, barley, milk and wine. Also, the subsidies paid to European farmers were distorting world trade. So the European Commission began reviewing the CAP in 1999. The EU agreed further reforms in 2003, with the emphasis on high-quality farm produce and animal-friendly farming practices that respect the environment and preserve the countryside. The EU plans to cut back on direct subsidies to farmers, so as to redress the balance between EU agricultural markets and those of the developing world.

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