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Lunch debate: Reforming amid protests – How should the EU’s future Common Agricultural Policy address enlargement and climate change?

Tom Fisk / Pexels
Tom Fisk / Pexels

How can reforms of EU agricultural policies address farmers' discontent, Ukraine's EU aspirations, and climate challenges at the same time? Transparency and collaboration among Member States are crucial, argued experts at IEP’s lunch debate.

The agricultural sector plays a pivotal role within EU climate policies and global trade dynamics, especially with the potential accession of agricultural countries like Ukraine. In early 2024, farmer’s protests included fears of an influx of Ukrainian agricultural products, prompting calls for trade safeguards to protect EU markets. Yet, the task of including Ukraine's agricultural sector could serve as a catalyst for broader reforms within the EU, particularly in restructuring agricultural financing.

As such, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has the potential to be a flexible tool, capable of adaptation and improvement through transparent, goal-oriented discussions within national and EU-wide working groups. Concrete proposals for CAP reform include decoupling payments from production, negotiating agricultural budgets to prioritize farmer investment, and phasing in Ukraine's integration with incentives for ecological sustainability. To address the frustrations voiced in the farmers' protests, policies supportive of grassroots initiatives, incentivizing biodiversity measures, and ensuring coherence and credibility in political decision-making could be measures for the future. Such reforms could bolster the EU's standing as an economic powerhouse, capable of addressing global challenges like climate change while integrating civil actors into decision-making processes.

Experts from France, Germany, Slovakia and Brussels discussed these aspects of reforming the CAP amid protests in IEP’s Lunch Debate on 30 April 30 2024. IEP director Prof Dr Funda Tekin welcomed the participants. Prof Dr Sebastian Lakner moderated the discussion between Gijs Schilthuis (European Commission), Dr Bettina Rudloff (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), Aurélie Catallo (IDDRI) and Tatiana Nemcová (BirdLife Europe).


IEP thanks the European Commission for its continued support of the Lunch Debates.

Team & authors

About the Europe talks project: The IEP's Europe Talks bring together citizens, decision-makers, academics and civil society to discuss challenges and perspectives on European integration. In this way, they promote the debate on European policy in Germany.

Image copyright: Tom Fisk / Pexels