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The debate on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is growing at European and National level, is notably and closely linked to the choices of EU related to the financial perspectives for the period 2014-2010. A public consultation on such topic has been started off by the EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş, who has left for the moment the two dossiers aside, giving priority to the identification of the agricultural policy post-2013 objectives. The debate on the new CAP reform, starting from the always ancient but modern general objectives which remained unchanged with the Lisbon Treaty, is now subject to an in-depth analysis and revision to identify new specific objectives in the wider framework of the European strategy 2010 identified by the EU executive body. However, the future outlooks can not neglect the need for stocktaking and what has been learned through the present and recent past experiences. In order to focus the theme of this special issue of the Italian Journal of Agronomy, we must remember that on 26th June 2003, EU farm ministers adopted a fundamental reform of the CAP and introduced a new single payment scheme (SPS, or Single Farm Payment) intended to change the way the EU supported its farm sector by removing the link between subsidies and production of specific crops. The Single Farm Payment is linked to meeting environmental, public, animal and plant health and animal welfare standards and the need to keep land in good agricultural and environmental condition. To gain funds from the SPS the Farmer has to cross comply - that is, to farm in an environmentally friendly way. COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1782/2003 states that: Member States shall define, at national or regional level, minimum requirements for good agricultural and environmental condition on the basis of the framework set up in Annex IV, taking into account the specific characteristics of the areas concerned, including soil and climatic condition, existing farming systems, land use, crop rotation, farming practices, and farm structures.....
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