Flexible biofuel mandates – a tool for reducing agricultural price spikes?

25 JUL 2012

This question is investigated by Defra economists in a recent analytical paper, 'Can biofuels policy work for food security?'

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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook Published for 2012-2021

25 JUL 2012

The 18th edition of the Agricultural Outlook was launched on 11 July. The report presents projections for the coming decade on global agricultural production and commodity prices taking into account projected economic growth, population growth, inflation, energy prices and policy implications. For the eighth time, the Outlook has been prepared by the OECD and the FAO together; however, this is the first time it provides an analysis of the environmental implications in their projections, in a supplementary chapter entitled ‘achieving sustainable agricultural productivity growth’.

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Rapporteurs Draft Amendments: State of Play

19 JUL 2012

The European Parliament draft rapporteur reports on the Commission’s legislative proposals were officially released in late May and early June. Following this, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos instigated and chaired a discussion among expert stakeholders at a high level conference, Shaping the Future of the Common Agricultural Policy, on 20 June.

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Greening Grows Gradually Greyer

14 JUN 2012

Two papers on greening, one to the Agriculture Council from Luxembourg and one from the Commission, have outlined some thinking on changes to the Commission’s original proposals to green direct payments. This short update explains briefly the content of the paper as well as the opportunities and risks they present for the environment

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Global land use issues, land take in Europe and soil sealing addressed at the high level Soil Conference held by the European Commission

29 MAY 2012

On 10-11 May 2012, DG Environment organised a high-level, two-day soil conference in Brussels. Some of the key issues discussed were soil degradation, urban sprawl and food production. These discussions were carried out from a global and EU perspective. The conference was closed by a high-level panel discussion attended by Commissioners Dacian Cioloş and Janez Potočnik and leading representatives of the European Parliament, the Committee of Regions and Copa Cogeca. The second day of the conference in particular attracted the attention of large audiences from national and regional administrations, research circles, environment groups and farmers’ associations across the EU.

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CoR and EESC adopt their opinions on the CAP reform proposals

23 MAY 2012

In their respective plenary sessions on 25 April and 4 May, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted their formal opinions on the proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy reforms. The opinions of these two EU institutions are a mandatory part of the CAP reform legislative procedure and the European Parliament and Council are obliged to take them into account when they agree the legislation and implementation of the reformed CAP.

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European Parliament: The CAP should be a key tool for biodiversity conservation in the EU

24 APR 2012

A resolution on the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, adopted on 20 April by the European Parliament stresses that biodiversity should become a much higher political priority and should be better integrated into existing EU policies. In particular, it states that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be a key tool for the conservation of biodiversity, alongside its role in food production and rural development. The forthcoming reform of the CAP, in conjunction with decisions on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, are key to halting the loss of biodiversity.

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‘Environmental public goods in the new CAP: impact of greening proposals and possible alternatives’

18 APR 2012

A new report on the potential environmental and economic impacts of the proposed Pillar 1 greening measures has been written by Professor Alan Matthews for the European Parliament. The findings of this report were presented at the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on 19 March 2012.

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The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment

17 APR 2012

The UK government produced its first Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) earlier this year. It looks at 100 priority impacts of climate change across 11 sectors in the UK including the agriculture and forestry sectors. The assessment categorises these sectors within five themes showing where the impacts will be most severe and how policy can intervene. Climate change is likely to have considerable impacts on food security, population growth and rising demand for energy. The purpose of the CCRA is to analyse the potential impacts in this wider context in order to facilitate risk management in the respective sectors.

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Emerging agricultural policy frameworks in the UK


While the CAP reform debate is in full swing, the UK countries have been consulting on the structure and content of their future agricultural policies as part of the transition away from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

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The status quo is not an option: the CAP’s environmental performance needs to improve


30 actions to transform the Commission’s proposals into a genuine transition tool.

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A healthy environment is fundamental to achieving vibrant rural areas


Just a few days before EU Agriculture Ministers meet for the informal Council in Vienna and on the basis of the preparatory questions sent by the presidency to the delegations, the authors of this blog post identify the key elements for securing vibrant rural areas in the future CAP.

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Why would this be the time to overturn the strategy for CAP reform?


Those of us with long memories of CAP reforms know that there can be many dramas, dead ends and diversions along the way. Nonetheless, there has been a discernible direction of travel for two decades or more.

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