In the first of a series of in-depth interviews with leading European Union policy-makers, Paolo De Castro MEP talks about his vision for the future of the EU's common agricultural policy.

Subjects include: the next round of CAP reform, environmental conservation, inequalities in farm subsidy payments between different EU countries, large aid payments to wealthy landowners, the EU budget and the impact of new Lisbon Treaty on the politics of the CAP.

Paolo De Castro is an Italian politician, and former Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. In 2009 he was elected to the European Parliament, and currently serves as chair of the parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. He has also served as professor of Agricultural Economics at the Veterinary Medicine University of Bologna. He is married and has two sons.

Jack Thurston is a contributor to the group blog and a co-founder of He writes widely on European politics and is a former adviser to the UK Minister for Agriculture and a transatlantic fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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