The common organisation of agricultural markets refers to legal framework established at European level for certain agricultural sectors.

Market intervention

In order to ensure stability in the markets and satisfactory standard of living for the agricultural community, a system of price support has been developed in parallel to the introduction of direct support schemes.

The price support system takes account of the needs of each agricultural sector and their interdependence. These measures take the form of:

  • public intervention in the markets for agricultural products;
  • payment of aid for the private storage of cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil and table olives, beef and veal, milk and milk products, pork, sheep meat and goatmeat.

Special intervention measures

EU may take exceptional measures in order to support markets in crisis. For example, these measures may be necessary in the case of spread of animal diseases or natural disasters which have repercussions for agricultural markets.

Quota schemes

National production quotas are fixed for sugar and milk. Member states then distribute these between the producing undertakings. This regulation particularly specifies the methods of quotas transfer between several undertakings and management of surplus production. This includes producer assessments by member states.

Aid schemes

Support also is provided for the following sectors:

  • sugar (production refund measures);
  • milk and milk products, olive oil and table olives, fruits and vegetables, and apiculture products;
  • programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and milk in schools;
  • wine and hops sectors;
  • silkworm rearing.


The Commission can require the presentation of import licenses for products from certain sectors: cereals, rice, sugar, seed, olive oil and table olives, flax and hemp, bananas, wine, live plants, beef and veal, pork, sheep meat and goatmeat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs and agricultural ethyl alcohol.
The import duties in the Common Customs Tariff apply to these products, although specific provisions are provided for some of them. In certain cases, these import duties may be suspended or additional duties may be applied.

These particular provisions apply specifically to imports of mixtures of cereals, rice or cereals and rice. The import duty depends on the composition of the mixture. In addition, preferential arrangements are established for sugar and specific import conditions are set for hemp and hops.

Furthermore, the Commission may provide import tariff quotas, specifically limits on the volume of goods which may be imported with a reduced customs duty. The tariff quotas are managed by the Commission and administered so as to avoid any discrimination.


The Commission may require the presentation of export licenses for products in the sectors pertaining to cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil and table olives, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, wine, beef and veal, pork, sheep meat and goatmeat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs and agricultural ethyl alcohol.

The export of certain products may be supported by export refunds which cover the difference between global and EU market prices. These may be differentiated according to the destination and are fixed periodically by the Commission, taking account of developments in the Union’s markets and global market developments. Specific provisions govern export refunds for malt in storage, cereals and beef and veal.

Management of export quotas in the milk and milk products sector and special import treatment by third countries are also regulated.