Discussions are getting underway on the post-2027 CAP – covering the period up to 2034 – with the Commission's proposals expected in July 2025. These will be drawn up by a new EU administration following the 2024 EU elections. It is in this context that this paper makes a proposal for how future policy and particularly funding structures should evolve to better reflect sustainability challenges whilst supporting farmers and other land managers in a transition that also ensures viable businesses and vibrant rural areas. This is intended as a contribution to a wider debate on the future of EU food systems.
The sustainability challenges facing agriculture and rural land use in Europe are urgent. Action needs to be stepped up to significantly reduce impacts on climate, biodiversity and natural resources like water and soil. At the same time, climate change is already having severe impacts in Europe, including on agricultural yields and the continent’s forests, making adaptation a key and urgent challenge.
A transition to sustainable and resilient agriculture and land use should therefore be a key priority for European policy in the years to come and hence for the next European Commission. At the same time, agriculture is a key sector that is also essential for food production and supports rural livelihoods. The sustainability transition in agriculture and land use will therefore have to encompass the need to also produce sufficient food, support rural livelihoods, and link into the wider transition of the EU food system.
Ecologic Institute was deeply involved in the creation of this vision paper together with many other experts and Think Tanks.