Policies for whom? Realities of the Romanian Peasantry beyond the Common Agricultural Policy
Rodriguez Beperet, Maria
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Since its origins in 1962, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a keystone of the European political framework. Conceived to support agriculture and rural development, this policy has followed two major trends: it primarily promotes the modernisation and competitiveness of agricultural production, and secondly it claims principles of sustainability and diversification. Beyond that, I consider the CAP needs to be examined, a deep analysis of the rationale and underlying interests driving this policy is undertaken in this study. I argue that this package is deeply rooted within Western parameters and, as such, does not necessarily pertain to the specific circumstances regarding the East-European New Member States (NMS); ex-communist and in-transition countries such as Romania, the country selected to exemplify this research. The CAP might be seen as another project of modern (rural) development and hence, neo-liberal expansionism. The realities of the local communities are not taken into account, thus promoting inaccurate solutions. The need to ascertain the particularities of the Romanian peasantry is tackled here through a case-study ethnographic research. It seems that, even when the target is placed on sustainability and local development, Western criteria and interests are superimposed. These external impositions might add pressure to rural livelihoods and lead the peasant world into a vulnerable position.