This article analyses the Cap Health Check launched in November 2008, which completes the 2003 Fischler reform and defines the regulatory framework for agricultural policies up to 2013. It considers the key features of the Health Check in terms of their innovative potential and capacity to prepare the Cap for future challenges, namely modulation, regionalization, article 68 support and, above all, completion of the process of total decoupling of support to European farmers. The evaluation is positive, although attention is drawn to the lack of long-period thinking on the decoupled payment system. In this respect discussion turns to various hypotheses regarding the aims and tools of long-period agricultural policies, to stimulate debate among experts and policy-makers.
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