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Common organisation of agricultural markets (COM)

The common market organisations (CMOs) have been created since 1962 under the framework of the common agricultural policy (CAP). The CMOs cover around 90% of European Union agricultural production. They govern the production and trade of products or groups of products (cereals, fruit and vegetables, pork meat, eggs, wine, etc.) with the aim of ensuring steady revenue for farmers and a continued supply for European consumers. The CMOs are fundamental instruments in the common agricultural market in that they eliminate obstacles to intra-Community trade in agricultural products and maintain a common customs barrier with respect to third countries.

In order to fulfil their role, the CMOs use a number of mechanisms:

  • market intervention (buy-back of surplus produce, help with storage, price fixing across the market);
  • direct payment to farmers;
  • limiting production;
  • trade measures (customs duties, tariff quotas and export refunds).

Since the reform of the CAP in 2003, most CMOs have been subject to the new system of a single farm payment. The majority of aid has therefore been paid directly to farmers, independent of production volumes (decoupling).

In 2007, as part of the process to simplify the CAP, a common organisation of the single market covering different sectors was established to replace the existing 21 CMOs. This change also involved replacing the management committees for each sector with just one committee: the management committee for the common organisation of agricultural markets.

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