At last, European governments have begun to tame the Common Agricultural Policy. There was a time when this insane subsidy for farmers would spin out of control, consuming ever increasing amounts of public expenditure.
If you will pardon the pum, recent reform efforts have bourne fruit. In euro terms, expenditures on financial support to agriculture has been flat since the mid 1980s. Over the last five years, expenditures have actually fallen in nominal terms.
The CAP continues to consume about 80 billion euros a year. This number is still far too high. Nevertheless, the recent fall in expenditures shows that even the most deeply entrenched subsidies can be dismantled if the political will is there.