Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 20:22 GMT
The Common Agricultural Policy sprang from the memory of the food shortages of the second world war. But time has shown that it may be too much to expect one policy to meet all of its aims.
Farmers fear reforms' effects
Even if it is radically reformed, Europe's common agricultural policy will go on costing billions. But British farmers fear that they will be worse off or discriminated against.
Small change for consumers
Reform of the European Union's common agricultural policy is unlikely to bring food prices down.
Another chance for wildlife
Environmental campaigners say the EU's reforms of its common agricultural policy offer some hope for farmland species.
EU says CAP no longer fits
Ministers are meeting to decide reforms to the Common Agriculture Policy which must be trimmed as more nations join the European Union.
Putting a CAP on Euro spending
The epic task facing European agriculture ministers this week is finding a way of reducing the huge subsidies it gives to farmers each year without crippling their livelihoods.
Farming fit for the future
The reform of the EU's common agricultural policy could form part of a strategic plan for supremacy in world trade.