Main stories

Rural Dialogues | Smart Villages – Turning Momentum into Support for Local Action

The momentum behind Smart Villages continues to grow – both within EU and national policy circles and on the ground among rural communities. The challenge is to translate this momentum into a policy framework that provides fast and flexible tools which meet the needs and expectations of rural communities in different parts of Europe. This will mean avoiding complicated structures and plans, mobilising what exists in each place – and supporting local action rather than words. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Ireland | Beef Plan Movement Steps up Protest

On Wednesday the 10th of July an estimated 2,500 farmers took to the streets of Dublin to protest against the proposed Mercosur deal. The protest was organised by Beef Plan, a voluntary not for profit organisation set up in October 2018 by a small group of farmers from Meath (in Ireland’s centre-east). Since then, its membership has grown to over 20,000. So who are they and what do they want?  […]

Latest from Brussels

Brussels | Farmers, Environmentalists tackle EU-Mercosur Deal

Several organisation representing farmers and environmentalists came together in Brussels to protest against the Mercosur trade deal yesterday. Responding to a call from the Belgian farmers group FUGEA, farmers and activists gathered outside the European Commission to protest against the threat posed by Mercosur to farmer incomes, the environment, and the rights of indigenous peoples in South America. […]

Latest from EU Member States

UK | Farmland Tax Breaks Revealed

Recent publications have thrust the inequality of UK land ownership into the public eye. Lesser known is that landowners (and farmers) profit further from a series of, sometimes bizarre, tax breaks. Miles King summarises the findings of a report by People Need Nature into this tax system. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part II: Moving On from Monocultures

Drought, insect infestations, biofuels and monocultures are impacting Czech agriculture and the ability of the soil to do its jobs, from water storage to erosion prevention. In part one of this series we exposed this troubled ecology of soil, forests and water. Next, we look at how history, politics and policy have shaped the lie of the land. With Louise Kelleher in Prague. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part I: Bugs in the Ecosystem

Record droughts across Europe have been compounded in the Czech Republic by a plague of bark beetle that has jeopardized the nation’s forests. In a country where forestry and farming go hand in hand, every tree lost is a blow to the land, scuppering the soil’s capacity to store water and leaving it more vulnerable to erosion. To make matters worse, the vast fields of rapeseed that have become ubiquitous to Czech agriculture in recent years thanks to generous EU subsidies for biofuels have left the topsoil in a sorry state. […]

Latest from Brussels

Series | Where Next for CAP – Can Strategic Plans Deliver?

While the next CAP reform is still in discussion at the Council, and the European Parliament has not yet taken a final position, Samuel Féret explains the rationale of the new concept of CAP Strategic Plans (CSP) for a future CAP as proposed by the European Commission. This is intended as a pivotal piece of the future new delivery model, probably the biggest proposed change in how the CAP is set to operate in the future. The first in a five part article series on where next for CAP. […]