The dearest of the European Union’s policies: agriculture

Agriculture is only 1.7% of the EU’s economy and 4.4% of its employment. However, agriculture absorbs 37% of the EU budget and enjoys the highest protection against imports. Trading partners consider that unfair; but in the EU, agriculture is also about food safety, animal welfare, environment, and cultural heritage.


Course outline

Day 1
Why did the EU create a common agriculture policy? The evolution of the model: from price support to income support. Decoupled direct payments.

Day 2
The role of Geographical Indications (GIs). Genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Rural development. Main features of the food supply chain in Europe.

Day 3
The EU policy for milk and dairy products. The quota system and its phasing out. The trade with non-EU countries. The market trends.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Understand the rationale for a EU policy dedicated to agriculture.
  • The extensive definition of “agriculture” for the EU.
  • Compare the two principal models of support in the EU.
  • Understand why agriculture is so expensive for the EU.
  • Know what Geographical Indications are (g. Parma Ham).
  • Know about the EU policy in field of genetically modified organisms.

Who should attend?

  • Business people
  • Journalists
  • Everyone interested in international politics and economics


  • 3 x sessions, Wednesday 8 April - Wednesday 22 April, 10am - 12pm
  • $110.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Stefano Riela

Seminar presenter

Stefano Riela

Stefano Riela

Stefano is research fellow at the Europe Institute of the University of Auckland, ​lecturer of Economics of EU at Bocconi University (Italy).

He was coordinator of the course in EU Competition Policy, lecturer of EU economic policies at ISPI (Italy), and Coordinator of the Graduate course on European economics and competitiveness for the Babson College (USA). He was economic advisor at the Communications Regulatory Authority in Italy, faculty coordinator and lecturer at NIBI (New International Business Institute), research director at ResPublica Foundation, and consultant of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs during the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

He holds a PhD in International Economic Law (Bocconi University), a Master in Economic Regulation and Competition (City University, London), a Master in International Relations (ULB-Ceris, Brussels) and a BA in Business Administration (Bocconi University).

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