The European agricultural sectors and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) face the triple challenge of productivity increase to meet increasing demands for food, fibre and energy, pressing public policy issues regarding public health and nutrition and the public good components of agricultural land use (emissions, soil protection, landscape, biodiversity, water, climate change), and adaptation to a changing institutional environment with liberalised markets and integrated transnational value chains. The current governance arrangements for the sector are criticised for their complexity, implementation gaps, inefficiency and ineffectiveness. This paper discusses whether a shift towards a different regulatory approach – principles-based regulation (PBR) in the form of the “new approach” – could offer an avenue for fundamental improvements. After reviewing the problems in the current CAP and explaining the broader “new approach” to regulation, we discuss its applicability to the internal agricultural market. We describe how a “new approach” to the internal agricultural market as application of PBR could look like and how PBR could be linked to the farm payments made under the CAP. We finally reflect on the necessary legal competence basis and on the potential of PBR to address the major challenges facing the European agricultural sector and the CAP.

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Wageningen Working Papers in Law and Governance , European Law Review (Forthcoming)
Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics

Purnhagen, K., & Feindt, P. (2017). Principles-Based Regulation – Blueprint for A ‘New Approach’ for the Internal Agricultural Market. European Law Review (Forthcoming) (Vol. 6). Retrieved from