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EU agricultural policy and health: Some historical and contemporary issues

23-10-2020

This paper examines the links between agriculture and health in the EU. Following an explanation of the links between agriculture, nutrition and diet, a chronology of some of the key studies and developments in this field is provided. This begins with an examination of efforts in the early 1970s to address high rates of cardiovascular disease before moving onto more recent assessments of the role of the EU's common agricultural policy in relation to nutrition-related public health matters, and the ...

This paper examines the links between agriculture and health in the EU. Following an explanation of the links between agriculture, nutrition and diet, a chronology of some of the key studies and developments in this field is provided. This begins with an examination of efforts in the early 1970s to address high rates of cardiovascular disease before moving onto more recent assessments of the role of the EU's common agricultural policy in relation to nutrition-related public health matters, and the extent to which the policy has influenced current dietary patterns. A brief overview is provided of the health status of EU citizens, including some key features and trends in EU health, diets and nutrition. The paper also takes account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including its implications for health considerations across all policies. Drawing on the range of studies and commentaries consulted, the paper concludes with a number of ways in which agriculture and agricultural policies can address or have an impact on the EU's public health challenges.

CAP strategic plans

14-10-2020

The European Commission adopted three legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) on 1 June 2018. One of the three proposals includes a regulation on CAP strategic plans. While the CAP retains its two-pillar structure, (Pillar I, agricultural income and market support, Pillar II rural development), interventions under both will be combined in one strategic plan for all CAP expenditure. Each Member State will be required to develop a strategic plan, setting out their ...

The European Commission adopted three legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) on 1 June 2018. One of the three proposals includes a regulation on CAP strategic plans. While the CAP retains its two-pillar structure, (Pillar I, agricultural income and market support, Pillar II rural development), interventions under both will be combined in one strategic plan for all CAP expenditure. Each Member State will be required to develop a strategic plan, setting out their proposed interventions. The CAP proposals package is scheduled for debate and vote during the October II plenary session.

EU agricultural policy and climate change

19-05-2020

In December 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate and environmental emergency in Europe and across the globe – a recognition of the challenges that the EU faces in this area. The agricultural sector is not only affected by climate change but also contributes significantly to it, according to some assessments. Evidence from a range of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre points to the impacts that climate change ...

In December 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate and environmental emergency in Europe and across the globe – a recognition of the challenges that the EU faces in this area. The agricultural sector is not only affected by climate change but also contributes significantly to it, according to some assessments. Evidence from a range of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre points to the impacts that climate change will have on yields, length of growing season, water availability, biodiversity, and habitats. The pattern of climate change will have a differential impact in terms of the regions affected. A clear north–south divide emerges, with countries of southern Europe likely to face declining yields due to increased temperatures and reduced precipitation. In the legislative proposals for the common agricultural policy (CAP) for the post-2020 period, the European Commission has set a high level of ambition in both environmental and climate change objectives, taking into account the fact that agriculture is responsible for around 10 % of the EU's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The European Green Deal outlined in the Commission's political guidelines aims to make Europe the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. A range of mitigation and adaptation responses are available, designed to curb GHG emissions and reduce vulnerability to climate change. The EU can use the CAP as a tool to influence policy-making in the area of climate change. In fact, data on the operation and impact of the CAP on climate change and GHG emissions have been examined using a range of sources, including a study undertaken for the Commission. One of its conclusions is that there are a range of CAP measures that are only partially relevant to climate needs, as the CAP is constrained by the lack of compulsory implementation. Additionally, a series of inconsistencies and 'missed opportunities' were identified in the study. It remains to be seen how such findings will influence the content and design of the new CAP strategic plans, given that the Commission's future proposals for them include giving greater discretion to Member States.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Janusz Wojciechowski - Agriculture

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

CAP strategic planning: Operational perspectives

04-09-2019

For the first time in the history of the common agricultural policy (CAP), it is proposed that interventions available under the CAP's Pillar I (namely agricultural income and market support) and Pillar II (rural development) will be combined in one strategic plan for all CAP expenditure. This paper aims to provide a better understanding and insight into the European Commission's proposal for this new delivery model for the CAP after 2020. Under the Commission's proposal, greater flexibility would ...

For the first time in the history of the common agricultural policy (CAP), it is proposed that interventions available under the CAP's Pillar I (namely agricultural income and market support) and Pillar II (rural development) will be combined in one strategic plan for all CAP expenditure. This paper aims to provide a better understanding and insight into the European Commission's proposal for this new delivery model for the CAP after 2020. Under the Commission's proposal, greater flexibility would be given to Member States to decide on how best to meet general and specific objectives of the CAP. They would be responsible for drawing up a CAP strategic plan, in which they will set targets to be achieved over the subsequent programming period. Though the new delivery model would provide an opportunity for Member States to tailor the instruments and measures of the CAP to address their specific needs, the approach places significant onus on the strategic-planning capacities of Member State administrations. This paper examines a number of operational issues to help inform the ongoing legislative process.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Agriculture

28-06-2019

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest common policies in the EU. Its significance is reflected in the proportion of the EU's budget devoted to it, representing approximately 40 % of the total. Developed at a time when Europe was unable to meet most of its own food needs, it was necessary to encourage farmers to produce food by means of guaranteed prices. The policy has undergone regular reform and has evolved over the years. These reforms have sought to improve the competitiveness ...

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest common policies in the EU. Its significance is reflected in the proportion of the EU's budget devoted to it, representing approximately 40 % of the total. Developed at a time when Europe was unable to meet most of its own food needs, it was necessary to encourage farmers to produce food by means of guaranteed prices. The policy has undergone regular reform and has evolved over the years. These reforms have sought to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, promote rural development and address new challenges in areas such as the environment and climate change. Evidence from a series of Eurobarometer surveys indicates that EU citizens have a high level of awareness of this policy area. There is a recognition that the policy is succeeding in meeting citizens' expectations in terms of delivering healthy high-quality food as well as contributing to the protection of the environment. When it comes to agriculture, Parliament's eighth term focused on taking forward not only implementation of the last CAP reform in 2013 but also a series of significant legislative achievements. The areas covered include, for example, unfair trading practices, animal health, plant health and the organic sector, as well as a range of policy-related simplification measures. On the non-legislative front, Parliament pursued its scrutiny role rigorously. Other substantial issues it considered during the last legislature included the future policy direction of the CAP for the post-2020 period, establishing its position on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), including the overall budgetary allocation for the future CAP and the associated legislative framework. In the case of the latter, this has not been the subject of a plenary vote. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU agricultural research and innovation

09-01-2019

The European Union's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation was published in January 2016 following a year-long process of development, which included targeted consultations. Based on five priority areas, the strategy guides the programming of its main research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020 – not only for 2018 to 2020 but also for the period beyond 2020, to be covered by Horizon Europe. In light of discussions on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP), the ...

The European Union's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation was published in January 2016 following a year-long process of development, which included targeted consultations. Based on five priority areas, the strategy guides the programming of its main research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020 – not only for 2018 to 2020 but also for the period beyond 2020, to be covered by Horizon Europe. In light of discussions on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP), the role of innovation in agriculture is examined, including the potential contribution that research and innovation can make to agriculture, the agri-food sector, rural areas and the challenges they face. These are set against changing global trends in public expenditure on agricultural research and development. These trends point to a relatively flat pattern of expenditure over the years 2012 to 2016 for the EU. In global terms, the structure of public agricultural expenditure is changing, with historically richer countries ceding ground to those with rapidly rising per capita incomes. In considering the EU's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation, the links between the CAP and the EU's research and innovation policies are identified. Evaluation evidence from a range of sources on the actual or potential impact of investment in agricultural research and innovation point to a link between such investment and productivity growth in agriculture, the potential for multi-dimensional impacts, and the potential offered by the Commission's current approach to agricultural research and innovation through the European innovation partnership operational groups for agriculture (EIP-AGRI).

CAP strategic plans

04-12-2018

The Commission's legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were published on 1 June 2018. They comprise three proposals: a regulation setting out rules on support for CAP strategic plans; a regulation on the single common market organisation (CMO) and a horizontal regulation on financing, managing and monitoring the CAP. The proposal for a regulation on CAP strategic plans introduces a new delivery model, described by the Commission as a fundamental shift in the ...

The Commission's legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were published on 1 June 2018. They comprise three proposals: a regulation setting out rules on support for CAP strategic plans; a regulation on the single common market organisation (CMO) and a horizontal regulation on financing, managing and monitoring the CAP. The proposal for a regulation on CAP strategic plans introduces a new delivery model, described by the Commission as a fundamental shift in the CAP, involving a shift from compliance towards results and performance. It includes a new distribution of responsibilities between the EU and Member States. A new planning process is proposed which will cover both Pillar I (direct payments) and Pillar II (rural development) of the CAP. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

CAP reform post-2020 - Setting the scene

30-05-2018

The Commission announced its proposals for the common agricultural policy post-2020 at the end of November 2017 in the form of a communication on the future of food and farming. They include proposals for: greater simplification to be achieved through increased subsidiarity involving a new delivery model, more effective targeting of direct payments, a shift towards a more results-based approach, and higher ambitions in respect of resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action. Other elements ...

The Commission announced its proposals for the common agricultural policy post-2020 at the end of November 2017 in the form of a communication on the future of food and farming. They include proposals for: greater simplification to be achieved through increased subsidiarity involving a new delivery model, more effective targeting of direct payments, a shift towards a more results-based approach, and higher ambitions in respect of resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action. Other elements will involve addressing issues such as generational renewal, the investment gap in agriculture, the role of research, innovation and training, risk management and a new green architecture. Under the new delivery model, Member States will have responsibility for establishing a common agricultural policy (CAP) strategic plan; this would be subject to approval by the Commission and would continue to set the basic policy parameters for the CAP. The proposals have generated a range of responses and have been the subject of discussion within the European Parliament's Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development. The Council has discussed the content of the communications and they have also been the subject of discussion by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Looking to the future, some reflections on the Commission's proposals are considered in light of the views expressed by a number of stakeholder groups. The Bulgarian Presidency has indicated that the future of the common agricultural policy will be discussed at the informal meeting of Ministers of Agriculture in Sofia in June 2018.

Organic production and labelling of organic products

11-04-2018

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering ...

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering the entire organic sector. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal during its April plenary session.

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