The debate on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 had already started when the European Commission published its own vision on the future of agriculture and food production in the European Union. One of the key aspects of this debate relates to the revision of the system of EU direct payments by revising degressivity and capping rules. Although it has, for a long time, been a popular idea to limit payments to larger farms in one way or another, and subsidise smaller agricultural holdings instead, this idea has serious drawbacks as this paper shows. The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of degressivity and capping on European farm structures by reviewing existing literature on the topic as well as by providing new evidence from Hungary. Results suggest that placing a cap on direct payments may be causing more harm than good in terms of land use change.