The agriculture, food, and forestry sectors are critical to achieving Europe’s climate, biodiversity, and conservation goals. Scientific evidence shows that the EU must reduce consumption of animal products, rewet peatlands, reduce nitrogen surpluses, and in general work with, not against, nature to meet these goals. Yet progress towards such a farming system is far too slow, due in part to the power of vested interests and the lack of a compelling alternative vision for agriculture. As a result, agricultural policies, especially the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), are perpetuating the status quo despite the EU’s stated objectives in the European Green Deal to shift to a more sustainable system, particularly through the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies and Europe’s 2030 climate goals.
In Germany – the largest absolute contributor to the EU Budget and the third largest CAP beneficiary – civil society organisations came together in 2020 in a Commission on the Future of Agriculture and started to make more far-reaching proposals on the way forward for the German agricultural sector. Following 2021 federal elections, the new governing coalition took up part of this work package, opening a window of opportunity for Germany to implement reforms at the national level as well as to play a leading role in the shift towards a sustainable agriculture and food system at the EU level.
As a first step, Agora Agriculture is undertaking an in-depth analysis of the reform agenda. It will work with think tanks and thought leaders in other countries, some of which the ECF is already supporting (e.g. IDDRI and the Institute for European Environmental Policy) to ensure that its policy recommendations are deeply rooted in the public policy debate in key EU Member States like Germany and France, and at EU level.
The independent think tank Agora Agriculture works at the intersection of science, policy, society, and the private sector. Their aim is to develop science-based policy proposals for more sustainable food, agriculture, and forestry in Germany and the EU.