ITALY: CAP Strategic Plan 2023-27

January 2022

Strategic priorities: organic farming and livestock 

The Plan recognizes the importance of organic farming to contribute to the achievement of all environmental objectives; indeed, the sector is allocated about 2.5 billion euro in the five-year period within the rural development. The allocation already foreseen by rural development (1.5 billion euros) is in fact integrated with an additional endowment of about 1 billion euros, partly transferred from the first pillar (90 million euros/year) and partly coming from the increase in national co-financing. 

The relaunch of Italian livestock farming and its competitiveness goes through a great attention to sustainability. With this objective, a significant share of the resources for eco-schemes is dedicated to animal welfare and the reduction of the use of antimicrobial in animal husbandry (about 1.8 billion euros). This initiative is accompanied by other important interventions in rural development for the adoption of good zootechnical practices for animal welfare (330 million euros), for commitments aimed at improving the management of livestock effluents (70 million euros). 

The green architecture 

In total, around 10 billion euros, between Pillar I and II, are allocated to interventions with clear environmental aims. 

In this context, great importance will be given to the 5 national eco-schemes, to which 25% of direct aid resources will be allocated (around 4.4 billion euros) to support farms in adopting agro-ecological practices for climate and environmental sustainability. The eco-schemes will operate in synergy with the 26 agro-environment-climate measures (AECM)  (1.5 billion euros), measures in favor of sustainable forestry (500 million euros), productive, non-productive and infrastructural investments for environmental purposes (650 million euros), with the environmental actions foreseen within the sectoral interventions and the environmental investments of the NRRP, an integral part of this strategy. 

ECO-SCHEME 1  – Payment for the reduction of antimicrobial resistance and animal welfare 

A specific eco-scheme has been foreseen to pursue the goal of reducing the use of drugs in animal husbandry, to counter the antimicrobial resistance, a real global health emergency. A significant part of the resources for eco-schemes, i.e. around 1.8 billion euros for the entire programming period, has been allocated to this intervention. In particular, payment for animal welfare and antibiotic reduction is foreseen, with two levels of commitment, the first relating to compliance with thresholds for the use of veterinary drugs (antibiotics), the second for farms that commit to specific obligations in the field of animal welfare and practice grazing or semi-wild farming. This initiative is accompanied by a specific intervention in rural development aimed at supporting the adoption of good zootechnical practices for animal welfare (330 million euros). 

Approximately 360 million euros per year, around 41% of the resources foreseen for the adoption of eco-schemes go to the eco-scheme 1.

ECO-SCHEME 2 Weeding of tree crops, for which all areas occupied by permanent crops and other permanent tree species in quick rotation are eligible.

The total cost of this intervention is estimated at 161 million euros / year, about 17.8% of the resources provided for the adoption of eco-schemes. 

ECO-SCHEME 3 – Safeguarding olive trees of particular landscape value, on which the following specific commitments are met: 

-annual pruning of the foliage according to established criteria; -prohibition of burning on site of pruning residues, unless otherwise specified as a result of adherence to certified quality systems or by the competent phytosanitary authorities.

To access the support of ECO-3 it is necessary to adhere also to the commitments provided by ECO-2, with the possibility of combined payments. 

The total cost of this intervention is estimated at 156 million euros/year, about 17% of the resources provided for the adoption of eco-schemes. 

ECO-SCHEME 4 – Extensive fodder systems, aimed at encouraging the introduction in rotation of leguminous and fodder crops, as well as renovation crops with a commitment to residue management in a carbon sink perspective, in order to support production guidelines less impactful in terms of use of productive inputs. 

The total cost of this intervention is estimated at 169 million euros/year, around 19% of the resources foreseen for the adoption of eco-schemes. 

ECO-SCHEME 5 – Specific measures for pollinators (both on herbaceous and tree crops), arable land and land occupied by permanent crops are eligible on which the following commitments are met: 

-cultivation of crops of melliferous interest in arable land, including a commitment not to use herbicides and other plant protection products in the field and borders in the year of commitment; -cultivation of crops of melliferous interest in the inter-row of permanent crops, including a commitment not to use herbicides and other phytosanitary products in the field and in the borders in the year of commitment. 

The total cost of this intervention is estimated at 45 million euros/year, about 5% of the resources provided for the adoption of eco-schemes. 

In addition to the eco-schemes in the first pillar, the green architecture is supported by the agro-environment-climate measures (AECM) and forestry interventions in the second pillar. A total of 26 AECM interventions are foreseen with a planned expenditure of around 1.5 billion euros, 5 forestry interventions with clearly environmental objectives with around 250 million euros. 

Essential elements of green architecture are also all the measures of the innovation system that can be envisaged both in rural development and in sectoral interventions. Training and advice are fundamental to ensure that in their path towards ecological transition, each beneficiary is accompanied by adequate support action aimed at strengthening their skills and/or offering dedicated advisory services. 

Internal Convergence

The process of progressive equalization of the level of income support continues, taking the entire national territory as a reference. The reference to Italy as a single region puts into effect – through internal convergence to 85% of the national average by 2026– a considerable rebalancing in the allocation of direct payment resources, to the advantage of intermediate rural areas and rural areas with development problems, as well as to the advantage of mountainous areas and some inland hill areas. At the same time, 10% of the national envelope is allocated to redistributive support, focusing attention on small and medium-sized farms; also in this case there are no territorial or regional differentiations.

Coupled payment

In order to take into account the challenges and difficulties faced by sectors and products that are important for social, economic or environmental reasons, and with the aim of improving their competitiveness, sustainability and quality, the Strategy allocates 13% of the direct payment budget to coupled support. 

To this is added a further 2% of resources to be allocated to the support of protein crops, in order to reduce the relative deficit of Italy and the Union, supporting crops that also allow to achieve an improvement of organic matter in the soil. 

Coupled payments for: durum wheat; rice; sugar beet; tomatoes-processing; oilseeds; citrus fruits; olives; protein crops; cow’s milk; mountain milk, buffalo milk, suckler cows, ewe lambs for replacement; slaughtered sheep and goats.

Risk management

Almost 3 billion euros allocated to subsidized insurance and the new national mutual fund, to which farmers also contribute through a 3% deduction from direct payments. 

In order to increase the participation of farmers, the activation of a basic mutual coverage against catastrophic weather and climate events has been foreseen for all farms receiving direct payments, through the establishment of a national mutual fund. This intervention is integrated with support for the subscription of subsidized insurance policies, which cover losses caused by adverse weather, animal and plant diseases or parasite infestations. 

Young farmers

The Plan foresees the strengthening of policies in favor of young people, integrating the instruments of the first and second pillar, so as to mobilize a total of 1,250 million Euros. In fact, young farmers are more receptive to innovation and digitization, thus more ready to face the new challenges of competitiveness and resilience of the agricultural sector. With these objectives, 2% of the direct payments ceiling (350 million euros) will be used as complementary income support for young farmers and 1% will be transferred to the second pillar. In this way, the allocation already provided for in rural development (540 million euros) is supplemented by an additional endowment of around 360 million euros, partly transferred from the first pillar, partly from the increase in national co-financing.

COP26 & AGRICULTURE

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) has finished on the 12th of November. During the ongoing negotiations, the European Commission has published a laconic, just a few sentences long news: “countries participating at the COP26, as part of the discussions on agriculture, agreed on the need for a transition towards sustainable and climate-resilient food systems”. [1] Despite a relative media silence around the statement,[1] it is worth looking at some of the key takeaways on what has been negotiated and decided that can have relevance for the agricultural sector and food systems to match with the Commission’s first statement.

Nota bene: this list is non-exhaustive, as it does not take into account new, updated climate pledges from individual countries

As FAO puts it, climate change and agriculture are inextricably linked. This means that we can no longer think about agriculture and food security without addressing climate change or vice versa. [3] This has been confirmed by the public opinion of Europeans as well, where environmental concerns have become an increasingly important priority for citizens. Within the latest Eurobarometer on agriculture, 52% of respondents believed that protecting the environment and tackling climate change should be the CAP’s main priority. [4] Accordingly, ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use’ directly accounted for 18.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions five years ago,[5] therefore it shall not come as a surprise to anyone that the COP has the agricultural sector in its crosshairs. It thus aims to tackle both the issues of the impact of climate change on agriculture and reduce agriculture’s contribution to global warming.

In general, this COP had four goals, namely to: 

  • Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach;
  • Mobilize finance;
  • Work together to deliver;
  • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The last featuring the sub-target to “build defenses, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives”.[6]

To begin with, “food systems”, per se were not discussed as it wasn’t part of the official agenda. It was mainly featured only just as a matter of a series of side events organized by FAO. [7]

Indeed, it is worth remembering that only two months before the COP, the UN Food Systems Summit took place. Here, hundreds of world leaders (prime ministers, agricultural ministers, international organizations – such as FAO or the World Food Program -, experts, farmers, representatives from the civil society and indigenous people) have already expressed their vision and made pledges to take action for the future of the planet’s food systems(Find Farm Europe’s note about it here)

Nevertheless, UN Food Systems Summit Special Envoy, Dr. Agnes Kalibata has previously argued that food systems must be on the table at COP26, as without them, it is “unlikely for the Conference to achieve its aims without more sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems”.[8] Furthermore, the WFP has stated as well in connection with the COP26 that “to fix the climate crisis we must address broken food systems”.[9]

It is easy to recognize the trend of connecting food systems with climate change to find a solution on how agri-food systems can be part of the solution to the climate crises. With these in mind, it is worth examining the context of agriculture that surfaced during the conference. 

To begin with, concerning the issues related to agriculture,[10] the ‘Koronivia joint work on agriculture (KJWA) was set up at COP23 in 2017, is the only program to focus on agriculture and food security under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by mainstreaming agriculture into UNFCCC processes. [11]

Since its creation, it had discussed several areas related to agriculture. Most recently, it published a report on the outcomes of its work, which was aimed to be presented at the COP26 on how to move forward, as in on “how to move the landmark agriculture decision from in-session workshops to implementation of practical actions”.[12]

Nevertheless, this will mostly yet be seen only in the future, as no decision has been adopted on agriculture and the KJWA at COP26 at the end of the day. In the brief, two pages long draft conclusions on the Koronivia joint work on agriculture, it was agreed to “continue consideration of this matter for June 2022”, and to November 2022, “to report on it and recommend a draft decision for consideration and adoption by the next COP”.[13]

Reflecting on the previously cited news from the Commission, indeed the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) have welcomed and recognized the reports on the workshops done in the Koronivia process on the topics of namely[14]:

– Improved nutrient use and manure management towards sustainable and resilient agricultural systems

– Improved livestock management systems, including agropastoral production systems and others

– Socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sector

During the last one, have the SBSTA and the SBI also “recognized the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger by designing sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural systems applying a systemic approach in line with the long-term global climate objectives, further recognizing the importance of long-term investments in agriculture focused on this objective”.

The future pathways of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture are still unknown, however, it will be worth keeping an eye on it at COP27.

On the other hand, agricultural-related announcements involved some of the following documents:

  • The Global Action Agenda on Transforming Agricultural Innovation Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade – A Roadmap for Action
  • The Agricultural commodity companies corporate statement of purpose, by ten global companies with combined annual revenue of almost 500 billion USD and a major global market share in key commodities, claiming that by COP 27 they will “lay out a shared roadmap for enhanced supply chain action consistent with a 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway”

Other topics have surfaced as well, such as the Joint FAO-IRENA Report on Renewable Energy for Agri-food Systems, aiming to “explore the relationship between the world’s agri-food systems and renewable energy”.[15] The report underlines that sustainable bioenergy is an important renewable energy resource that can meet needs for electricity, heat and transport fuels within the agri-food sector and beyond.

Moreover, other important announcements were made relating to deforestation or methane emissions:

  • Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use
  • The global forest finance pledge

The declaration on forests and land use states that the undersigned 141 countries – including some countries with the highest deforestation rates in the world, such as Brazil, Indonesia, or Nigeria – “commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation”.

However, it is good to remember that a similar pledge was already made in 2014 under the New York Declaration on Forests to end deforestation by 2030, which we are still very far away given that for example most recently Brazil’s Amazon deforestation has surged up to 15-year high.

Point 4 of the declaration states that the undersigned will strengthen their shared efforts to “implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programs to incentivize sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment”.

About the above said, 28 countries – including the European Union – further declared support for the document “A joint statement of the Forest, Agriculture, and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue”, whose purpose is to “promote sustainable development and trade while protecting forests and other critical ecosystems”.[16]Their overall objectives are: trade and market development; smallholder support; traceability and transparency; and research, development, and innovation.

Nonetheless, the roadmap’s actions are “non-exhaustive, non-binding and do not apply in all circumstances to all countries”, as it represents a ‘work in progress’ with participants “expressing their desire to deepen collaboration, through this dialogue, after COP26”. [17]

Moreover, while Commissioner Frans Timmermans underlined in his final COP26 plenary speech that the work “doesn’t stop here, it only starts”,[18] the Commission has already published its LULUCF revision before the event and its future pledges. In it, the Commission already set the aim to have a climate-neutral land sector by 2035 & for the primary production of food and biomass. During its legislative proposals and packages, for example for the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the Commission has often underlined the significance of the Glasgow conference, and that “we can still make a success of Glasgow”.[19] In fact, to make it a success, the many Member States and the European Union has indeed signed up to various new commitments.

Even if sporadically, based on these developments and commitments, we can see that the role of agriculture has come in the limelight of climate change-related negotiations, which will only be reinforced in the future.

Nevertheless, there was no breakthrough on agriculture yet in the end, which is well illustrated in the so-called ‘Glasgow breakthroughs’.[20] The Glasgow breakthroughs’ – “global goals that aim to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in each emitting sector globally before 2030” – covered power, road transport, steel, and hydrogen by the end of the conference, but not agriculture, as it was initially set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. [21] 

Regardless, the fact that there was no overarching consent on agriculture shall come as no surprise. The WTO negotiations on agriculture began in 2000 and have been at a stalemate ever since showing the complexity of the issue.

Overall, it can be concluded that agriculture has turned into an ever-present issue at climate negotiations as well. It will inevitably have a consequence on European agriculture. To influence this process, the EU must concentrate on this international aspect, if it aims to reach its objective of being a standard of food sustainability while making Europe’s food healthier and more sustainable. The next COP is foreseen to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt between the 7th of November and the 18th of 2022. It will be for sure worth following the discussion on agriculture.

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/cop26-participants-recognise-need-sustainable-food-systems-ensure-global-food-security-and-achieve-climate-objectives-2021-nov-09_en
[2] https://ukcop26.org/nations-and-businesses-commit-to-create-sustainable-agriculture-and-land-use/
[3] https://www.fao.org/koronivia/en/
[4] https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy/cap-glance/eurobarometer_en
[5] https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector#agriculture-forestry-and-land-use-18-4
[6] https://ukcop26.org/cop26-goals/
[7] https://enb.iisd.org/UN-food-agriculture-organization-fao-cop26
[8] https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit/news/food-systems-must-be-table-cop26
[9] https://www.wfp.org/stories/cop26-fix-climate-crisis-we-must-address-broken-food-systems
[10] https://unfccc.int/topics/land-use/workstreams/agriculture
[11] https://www.fao.org/koronivia/en/
[12] https://www.fao.org/koronivia/events/detail/en/c/1446446/
[13] https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/sb2021_L01_adv.pdf?download
[14] https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/sb2021_L01_E.pdf
[15] https://irena.org/publications/2021/Nov/Renewable-Energy-for-Agri-food-Systems
[16] Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue: A Roadmap for action 
[17] Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue: A Roadmap for action 
[18] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/timmermans/announcements/frans-timmermans-speech-final-cop26-plenary_en
[19] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/timmermans/announcements/european-parliament-plenary-debate-fit-55-after-presentation-ipcc-report_en
[20] https://ukcop26.org/cop26-world-leaders-summit-statement-on-the-breakthrough-agenda/
[21] https://ukcop26.org/world-leaders-kick-start-accelerated-climate-action-at-cop26/


[1] The official website of the conference presented it as “Nations and businesses commit to creating sustainable agriculture and land use” .[2] 

LIVESTOCK IN THE EU – Periodic news

Rising production costs for all agricultural sectors, particularly livestock, are a concern. Many sectors are demanding higher producer prices and improved farm incomes. 

Opportunities have developed for some UK livestock sectors as a result of Brexit. In Ireland, however, the vote by MEPs to ban the transport of very young animals is described as a ‘blow’ to the calf exports industry. 

Since the end of summer 2021, in Europe (geographical), 26 countries have been affected by influenza viruses, involving more than 400 outbreaks in livestock and 600 cases in wildlife. Affected farms are subject to strict biosecurity measures and disease control zones are in place. 

Animal health companies have developed 49 new vaccines over the past two years as part of an industry-wide strategy to help reduce the need for antibiotics. In addition to producing vaccines, some industries have launched a range of other preventive products and 17 new diagnostic tools. 

In Germany, the new government will act to improve farm animal welfare and a mandatory animal welfare label will be introduced for meat from 2022. 

The European Commission has presented its carbon farming initiative, which aims to increase the amount of carbon dioxide stored in the soil – with the aim of achieving climate neutrality in the land sector by 2035. This ‘carbon farming’ proposal would reward farmers for managing or sequestering carbon, becoming a new source of income for land managers. 

In France, a reduction in methane emissions from livestock has been observed since the 1990s, thanks to various levers. In order to pursue these methane reduction objectives, changes in the livestock production system will have to be made, as well as the implementation of certain actions on the farm, changes and actions that have yet to be prioritised. 

The European Commission has published a report on the European Union’s Agricultural Outlook for 2021-31, but without incorporating the potential impact of the measures put forward in its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Meat and dairy markets will be influenced by sustainability, social and health issues over the coming decades, both in terms of production types and consumption patterns.

full note available on FE Members’ area

NUTRITION & FOOD POLICIES: Nutri-Score accused to distort market

The BECA Committee on Beating Cancer has finally approved the report on the European strategy to fight against cancer. Nutrition is not addressed as much, despite the important role that plays in preventing some type of cancers. 

Lab-grown meat industry, at the same time, is on the rise, with more million invested in the business and the opening of an office in Brussels to represent their interests. 

On the Front-of-package debate, the Italian competition authority has opened some cases against the Nutri Score, accused of distorting the market and of unfair trade practices. 

full note available on FE Members’ area

FARM TO FORK NEWS: Carbon & Soil strategies published

In the two past months the European Commission has proposed two legislative initiative packages, notably the Carbon farming initiative and the Soil strategy. The former is about creating a remunerative system for farmers to incentivise the stock of carbon into soil, borrowing the logic of the ETS system already into place; while the former is the legislative package proposed to improve the health of EU soils and management. 

Also, on the side of animal welfare the European Parliament has been active in voting its conclusions on the transportation of animals (ANIT Committee) and proposing resolutions, namely on the introduction of temperature, humidity, and ammonia recording devices in lorries and the set of journey limits. The Commission renewed its commitment on this dossier, with Commissioner Kyriakides reminding the institution’s action plan during an on-line even on the wider topic of animal welfare. 

full note available on FE Members’ area

NEW GENOMIC TECHNIQUES: Council hesitates

During the last reunion of the year of the Environmental Council of the EU, Ministers showed to be more resistant to modification of the current GMO legislation, notably in a note advanced by the Austrian delegation calling on the precautionary principle to be applied. At the same time, the Commission still reiterates its commitment to use these technologies -New Genomic Techniques- as one of the tool to put into practice the Farm to Fork and increase the sustainability of the EU agri sector. 

full note available on FE Members’ area

AGRI PROMOTION 2022

As an early Christmas present, the Commission has announced its support of a total of €185.9 million for the promotion of EU agri-food products for 2022. Nevertheless, upon taking a closer look, one might realize that this is not the gift one might have asked for.

To begin with, the objective of this budget is to support EU farm products by promotion campaigns in and outside the EU to open up new market opportunities and help build their already existing business.

The allocation has its declared objective, to co-fund campaigns in line with the European Green Deal ambitions, which translates to supporting objectives from the Farm to Fork strategy, Europe’s beating cancer plan or the EU organic action plan. While some of these files’ targets have not yet been entirely finalized and accepted, as they are still assessed, under discussion, or haven’t even started at an EU level, the Commission has decided to focus supporting mainly the organic products, fruit and vegetables, and information provision and promotion programmes aiming at increasing the awareness of Union sustainable agriculture and animal welfare.

After the Commission’s agri-food promotion policy review of 2021, within the grant programmes for the internal market for the sum of €86,3 million, the aforementioned subjects receive a hefty budget of €34 million for organic production, €20 million for increasing the awareness of Union sustainable agriculture and animal welfare, and €19,1 million for increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the internal market within the context of balanced and healthy dietary practices.

Besides these, what is left for a more ‘classic promotion’ in these, are for the efforts to increase the awareness and recognition of Union quality schemes with an envelope earmarked at €5 million, plus an additional €4,2 million either for the quality schemes, or for information provision and promotion programmes highlighting the specific features of agricultural methods in the Union and the characteristics of EU agri-food products, and quality schemes.

Comparing this with a “pre-Green Deal”, 2020 promotion decision the difference is striking.[1] First of all, 2 out of the 3 focus subjects for 2022 (organic products and animal welfare) are only mentioned within, as part of the programmes on EU quality schemes (organic) and programmes highlighting the specific features of agricultural production methods in the Union (animal welfare), not separately. Moreover, many of the funds at that year have gone to promoting products such as pork and bovine meat or even wine, spirits, liqueurs and vermouth. The new, 2022 work programme’s award criteria of relevance makes sure that these products will be downgraded, and thus unlikely be selected again for next year, given that it declares that:

“For proposals targeting the internal market, alignment with the objectives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, in particular encouraging the shift to a more plant-based diet, with less red and processed meat[2] and other foods linked to cancer risks (e.g. alcoholic drinks).”

It is understandable that the Commission aims to align its promotion policy with its other objectives, however one must realize, when the demand would advise otherwise. Notable example on this, is how in last year’s work programme the simple programmes in third countries for the promotion programmes on organic products had a budget of €12 million euros foreseen[3], yet in the end less than half of it, not even €5 million euros were allocated.[4]

Such underspending shall be noted, when other sectors would need a helping hand too after the devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the sectors and the Member States had already highlighted the problem of under-consumption last year and therefore the gap between priorities and the actual needs of the sectors. Nevertheless, it seems the response from the Commission was to maintain the same course and further use the agricultural products promotion policy as a tool for the promotional policy of the Commission’s Green Deal policy guidelines.

Given that the Commission is the sole decision-maker for the annual priorities, as the Member States and the European Parliament only give an opinion, the Commission should do its utmost to make sure that for the next year there is a limited risk of the budget not being used in the end. It must realize that not only one or two, but the whole EU agricultural sector is an urgent need to relaunch European exports and secure the market share of European products in the EU and outside of it.


[1] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_6287

[2] According to the Farm to Fork Strategy, red meat includes beef, pig meat, lamb, and goat meat and all processed meats.

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/assets/agri/pdf/table-AWP-2021.pdf

[4] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/food-farming-fisheries/key_policies/documents/commission-decision-c2021-8537-annex_en.pdf

PRIMES: a new perspective on the contribution of biofuels to the Green Deal ambition.

The E3 modelling firm has updated the PRIMES model, regularly used by the European Commission for its impact assessments, taking into account the current conditions of biofuel production, which are very different from those of 10 or 20 years ago. This update assessment shows clearly that the 1G of today have nothing to do with the 1G of yesterday ! Investments and new measures have been made to make it effective and sustainable. 

At the heart of the Impact Assessments for the Renewable Energy Directive and Europe’s other key energy and climate legislation, the PRIMES model simulates EU energy systems and markets on a country-by-country basis, and for the Union as a whole. It covers energy demand, CO2 emissions, investment, and energy technology penetration, prices and costs.

PROTEIN.

The growing demand for proteins to achieve food sovereignty in the EU, which is currently dependent on soybeans imported from Latin America – a source of deforestation – makes 1G produced in Europe a major lever for the production of “Made in Europe” proteins. In addition this highlight that in the context of circular economy, the concept of food-based biofuels is unfounded since biofuels when operated the right way can be part of a supply chain strengthening food security – proteins, oils or fibers, valued on the market – and a source of stability and investment for farmers. 

PRICE. 

In view of the challenges of the Green Deal, biofuels sourced in Europe are not only a locomotive for the production of non GM proteins, free of deforestation on which for example the non GM milk market rely. They also represent an affordable, credible and available lever to achieve the EU’s climate ambitions. The PRIMES model updated by E3 shows that  renewables from EU biomass are the most attractive solution for decarbonising the transport sector, even by 2030, from a price perspective. A tone of carbon not emitted through the use of biofuels will remain 2-3 times cheaper, compared to the tone of carbon not emitted through the use of electric vehicles. It’s a major asset in order to achieve a Green Deal that work for all, and not only for an elite. 

=> EU biofuels are key to achieving the Green Deal ambition, complementary to other decarbonisation option. The scale of the challenge calls for mobilising all options in a sustainable way, and now at EU level, the framework is well established to mobilise biomass in an efficient and sustainable way. 

See the full report here.

The new German government coalition’s agricultural plans

Germany sets course for digital progress, animal welfare, organic farming and the post-2027 CAP

Following trilateral negotiations between the Socialists, the Greens and the Liberals (FDP), a 178-pages coalition agreement has been presented, paving the way for a new German government led by the red/green/yellow coalition.

An important part of this programme is devoted to the ecological transition, food and energy issues, as well as the strategy that will be carried forward by Berlin at European level. The digitisation of the society is one of the major cross-cutting projects supported by the agreement, a project that impact the entire programme of the coalition, which has the ambition of a “global digital revival” for Germany.

In agriculture, two major priorities clearly stand out: the in-depth transformation of the livestock sector, with sources of funding to help the industry adaptation, and the development of organic farming.

It is also announced that the Common Agricultural Policy will be reviewed with a view to “adequately replacing direct payments ” by 2027.

The overall objective of the new coalition is to move towards “sustainable and viable agriculture, in which farmers can carry out an economically viable activity that respects the environment, animals and the climate”. This should be based on “regional value chains and contribute to the maintenance of rural structures”.

Animal welfare.

Animal welfare is the central project of the German coalition for the next few years in the field of agriculture, with important implications on a European scale, the ambition being to have binding standards at EU level.

It is planned to introduce “as early as 2022” mandatory labelling for livestock farming that also covers transport and slaughter, and at a later stage full origin labelling. An ambitious investment plan is foreseen to improve animal welfare, involving all links in the chain in its financing. The plan should not generate administrative burdens, it is stressed.

A number of important control measures on the chain are announced, such as video surveillance of slaughterhouses, a limitation of live animal exports to animal welfare corridors, and an extension of the TRACES database.

Part of the Animal Welfare Act will be transferred to criminal law and accompanied by increased sanctions. A commissioner’s office for animal protection will be established.

Common Agricultural Policy.

Germany has stated its intention to move quickly with the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and to look to the future already with a reflection on the next CAP after 2027. A mid-term reform of the CAP architecture national plan is announced, which will be accompanied by reflections on the post-2027 CAP plans, which will focus on the « adequate replacement of direct payments to finance environmental and climate services”.

Nutrition. 

Reducing meat consumption is seen as a priority for the new coalition’s nutrition policy, as well as the establishment of a nutrition policy for children, aiming to limit excess sugar, fat and salt. Alternative proteins will be promoted.

In 2023, a nutrition strategy will be adopted in consultation with stakeholders.

At the European level, Germany is in favour of a scientifically based and understandable Nutriscore and a reinforcement of the labelling of the ecological footprint of products.

Agriculture.

The orientation of German agriculture towards sustainable and organic farming is widely stated, with a target of 30% organic farming by 2030, the end of glyphosate in 2023, and the limitation of pesticides to the strict minimum, while stressing the need to develop solutions and preserve rapid decision-making. The paragraph on plant protection is balanced in its wording, with mention of the need to reform the authorisation process at European level, and to increase transparency.  

The selection of climate change resistant seeds is highlighted, as well as the desire for transparency in breeding methods, strengthening research on risks and detection.

The digitalisation of agriculture is also mentioned as a fundamental orientation, with in particular the development of open source data, under the authority of the public authorities.

A protein strategy is also announced.

Energy and climate.

With regard to the energy transition, the focus is on electrification and green hydrogen, and the implementation of decarbonised electricity production using gas and renewable gas in the short and medium term to ensure the transition.

A new start for the sustainable use of biomass is announced, without further details at this stage.

Clear support is given to the “Fit for 55” package presented by the European Commission, with instruments that are as technology neutral as possible. Support is given to the ETS mechanism, including in transport, and to the principle that « what is bad for the climate should cost more ».

Europe.

On the European institutions, the new coalition takes the opposite view to the previous government, showing ambitious support for the process of institutional reform of the European Union launched by President Macron through the Conference on the Future of Europe, with a view to greater federalism.

Germany is now in favour of the principle of a convention that would pave the way for a reform of the treaties, and defends the idea of challenging the exclusivity of the right of initiative currently in the hands of the Commission and opening it up to the European Parliament, as well as the development of transnational lists and a candidate of European parties for the future president of the Commission.

Germany takes up the principle stated by France that it will go as far as possible with 27 member states, but will not hesitate to develop a deeper relationship with a group of member states that wishes to go further. Reforms in view of the 2024 elections are envisaged, aiming at strengthening the European Parliament (right of initiative) and the transnational dimension of the European debate (European parties, Spizenkandidat, etc.).

NEW GENOMIC TECHNIQUES: Green Minister in Germany

In November the negotiations talks on the new government coalition in Germany brought their fruits and a new German agriculture minister from the Green Party, Cem Özdemir, has been confirmed. In the coalitions’ agreement the topic of genetic engineering does not seem to be a priority. 

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US Congress discussed in what it seemed to be a very favourable environment to adopt new technologies such as gene editing tool, and thus increase public investment, to face sustainability challenge. 

At the same time, the pressure is mounting from civil society organisations to re-discuss the patent on seeds. 

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