Home 9 European Stakeholders 9 Transforming EU land use and the CAP: a post-2024 vision

Transforming EU land use and the CAP: a post-2024 vision

Sep 29, 2023 | European Stakeholders

Author: Blanca Casares (AEIDL)

In September 2023, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) published a policy paper on a new policy vision to transform EU land use and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the coming decade. 

The paper has been produced by IEEP with several members of the Think Sustainable Europe network of think tanks. 

Discussions on the CAP post 2027 are underway and the European Commission is expected to present its proposals in July 2025. These will be prepared by a new EU administration after the European elections in 2024. 

A transition of agriculture and land use in the EU is needed as part of a broader transformation of EU food systems, aimed at meeting sustainability objectives while ensuring the viability of businesses and the vitality of rural areas. The CAP is the largest EU policy, amounting to 1/3 of the EU Budget.  

The paper identifies four priorities for funding in the next decade to support a transition to a sustainable and resilient agriculture and land use sector in the EU: 

  1. Transitional aid to support resilient and sustainable future business models. Priorities would need to be developed depending on the regional circumstances but might include aid for new investments and for de-risking management changes.  

Aid would need to be tuned to the cycle of innovation, for example being phased out as technologies become widely adopted and affordable, as occurs in other sections of the economy. This would be part of a wider emphasis on fairness for the farming community and could help to reduce their resistance to the progressive increase in mandatory requirements that lies ahead. One specific application could be in supporting young farmers and new entrants who commit to certain sustainable practices and forms of management and who have generally higher needs for finance. 

An important element would be support for ‘just transition’ to provide reskilling, retraining and diversification opportunities for farmers and land managers. 

  1. Funding for ongoing provision of environmental services and public goods. Proposals to move the CAP to a system of support for public goods have been around for some time, and remain valid, but need to be accompanied by the transitional aid detailed above. 

On the environmental side, amongst the key objectives of such payments would be climate mitigation and climate adaptation, protection and enhancement of biodiversity, and protection of natural resources (going beyond legal baselines and where it is not in the self-interest of land managers to do so). 

Ongoing payments for environmental services could provide farmers and land managers with a secure long-term source of public funding. In addition, such support can potentially play a role in leveraging private finance. 

  1. Advice, training and stakeholder engagement. Amongst the measures in scope would be tailored farm-level transition plans, enhanced business advice about how to diversify and increase business and environmental resilience and technical advice on the best means of selecting and implementing sustainability practices. They could also support peer-to-peer learning and knowledge exchange amongst farmers and land managers on a larger scale than currently 
  1. Research and innovation. There is an important role for public funds to support research and innovation aiming to further the achievement of public benefits, including sustainability goals, and that may not otherwise be undertaken. Longer-term innovations also need due attention 

The full recording of the launch event is available in two parts: PART 1 (introduction and panel discussion) and PART 2 (vision presentation and Q&A)