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The majority of recent publications on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union address current issues and specific applications. There is little available which attempts to increase understanding of the nature of existing policies, their development, intentions, problems and successes. The aim of this book is to improve knowledge and understanding of the ‘policy process’ and its application to the CAP, focussing on the principles of policy analysis. For while the details of agricultural and environmental policies evolve, the principles upon which they are based endure. The author uses economics as a basis for his exploration, as fairly simple economics holds the key to understanding many of the fundamental pressures to which agriculture and rural areas are subject. He explains the importance of the political and administrative context in which the process occurs, acknowledging the influence of environmental and sociological concerns. Such knowledge of the conceptual framework of the ‘policy process’ and its application to the CAP is essential for all concerned with agriculture and rural livelihoods, both within the European Union and in those countries trading with the EU. This includes both students and professionals. The book provides an understanding of these principles in terms of how and why policy changes, thus increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the process.