The Health Check of the CAP
The CAP Health Check is presented in three steps: the first details the main developments contained in the EU regulations of November 2008, the second describes the latitude given to member states in applying these regulations, and the third examines the choices made by the French Minister.
EU regulations resulting from the decisions of 20 November 2008
The EU decisions of 20 November 2008 represent a continuation of the 2003 reform of the CAP (Butault et al., 2005). Besides abolishing compulsory set-aside and changing the rules of intervention, the rules adopted address the following elements.
An increase in the decoupling rate
As of 2012, the CAP Health Check requires full decoupling of all direct payments (OECD, 2001), except for the option to retain the suckler cow premium and the sheep and goat premium (Gohin, 2008).
The CAP reform of 2003 authorised member states to maintain coupling of some direct payments previously granted on a per-hectare or per-head (of cattle) basis (partial coupling). In France, direct payments continued to be coupled: in the case of arable crops (cereals, oilseeds and protein crops) at 25%; in the case of livestock products at 100% for the suckler cow premium and the calf slaughter premium, at 40% for the adult beef slaughter premium, and at 50% for the sheep premium. In other countries with less productive and geographic diversity, the issue of the decoupling intensity was considered less crucial (Piet et al., 2006; Chatellier and Guyomard, 2008). Thus, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom opted for application of full decoupling. Germany (Kleinhanss, 2005), Italy, and Greece also retained the full decoupling principle with the exception of the seed sector and other specific crops, but Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands applied partial coupling to seeds and livestock products.