New Wine in Old Bottles: Critical Discourse Analysis of the Current Common EU Agricultural Policy Reform Agenda



A critical discourse analysis of two EU agricultural commissioners' speeches in the period 2000–2006 was carried out and substantiated by rational choice theory. The analysis reveals how the latest Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms have been gradually overturning prevailing CAP discourses. The neo-mercantilism discourse that dominated for decades has been replaced by the discourse of multifunctionality. With the change of commissioners in 2004, the emphasis on the multifunctionality discourse has changed. The legitimisation of the CAP with environmental and rural public goods has been replaced by less well-articulated arguments of ‘quality production’ and ‘competitiveness’, implying a gradual move to a neoliberal orientation for the future CAP.