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Water Framework Directive Meets Common Agricultural Policy


Water Framework Directive Meets Common Agricultural Policy

Opportunities for the future (CAP & WFD)

Research Program

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) are two of the most influential European policies in the area of environmental issues. Within this sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project, Ecologic and the Warsaw Agricultural University (WAU) are analysing the legal and organisational interlinkages between both policies in order to elaborate future synergies while implementing, planning, financing and controlling the various requirements of the WFD and the CAP.

For this purpose, several background notes and policy briefs have been developed and presented at the stakeholders and policy makers conference "WFD meets CAP - Opportunities for the future" in Vienna on 2 - 3 March 2006. The policy briefs on "Cross Compliance and the WFD", "Incentive water pricing and cost recovery in the WFD" and "Co-operation and participation at the interface of EU Agricultural and Water Policies" have been published and can be downloaded. Water pollution caused by agricultural activities remains one of the most important environmental issues in Europe. Recent changes in both policy areas, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD), offer various possibilities for combining the efforts of the two policies in order to achieve positive environmental effects. Several tools of the CAP, e.g. the Cross-Compliance and the Rural Development Programmes, could contribute to implementation of the WFD. The most effective synergies between the CAP and the WFD could be achieved through the co-operation among authorities responsible for rural development planning and river basin management at all appropriate levels. However, until now, policies addressing both areas have lacked co-ordination, being for the most part separately developed and implemented.

Aim of the project

Against this background, the project aims to review the implementation of the legal requirements of both policy areas in order to identify implementation shortcomings between policy objectives and actual outcomes of both policies as well as possibilities for enhanced implementation and co-operation at European, national and regional levels.

More specifically, the project aims to:

  • impart the link between the WFD and the CAP;
  • bring together policy makers, decision makers, stakeholders and scientists from both policy areas in order to reach a better understanding of both sides and to develop a common language;
  • establish a co-operation pattern between authorities responsible for the Rural Development Planning and river basin management at appropriate levels (international, national and regional);
  • start a process of exchanging experiences between “old” and “new” Member States;
  • look for new possibilities to integrate the objectives of the WFD into the CAP; and,
  • develop policy recommendations for EU 25 (which will also be valuable for Accession Countries in the second “tranche” (e.g. Romania, Bulgaria).

In order to reach these objectives, the following support activities will be undertaken:

  • Elaboration of four Background Notes on the link between the CAP and the WFD in preparation for the Conference, aiming to provide relevant information to the participants of the Conference regarding both the CAP and the WFD as well as their interaction. 
  • Conceptualisation and organisation of a European Conference which will be held in March 2006 to discuss interdependencies, links and necessary co-operation, between agricultural and water issues and their overlaying policies (the CAP and the WFD). This will aim to develop a common approach and will therefore include authorities in charge of agricultural policy, rural development, river basin management, nature protection and secretariats of international conventions as well as experts and NGOs.
  • Elaboration of five Policy Briefs with policy recommendations for the European level, national level, and the regional level on the future link of the CAP and the WFD. The Policy Briefs will highlight the possibilities for enhancing the co-operation in order to use possible synergies while implementing, planning, financing and controlling the various requirements of the WFD and the CAP.



More content from this project

Thomas Dworak
Nadine Herbke
Dr. Rainer Müssner
Eduard Interwies
Dr. Nicole Kranz
Project ID
Water, Water Framework Directive, water quality, Common Agricultural Policy, Cross-Compliance, Agri-environmental programmes, agriculture