21

result(s)

Word(s)
Publication type
Policy area
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Date

European forest strategy – The way forward

30-09-2020

Forests and woods cover nearly half of the land surface of the EU. They play a vital role as they have the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change, provide many ecosystem services, contribute to the development of the circular bio-economy and provide employment for some 2.6 million people, in particular in rural areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its October I plenary session on an own-initiative report emphasising the need for an ambitious and strong EU forest ...

Forests and woods cover nearly half of the land surface of the EU. They play a vital role as they have the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change, provide many ecosystem services, contribute to the development of the circular bio-economy and provide employment for some 2.6 million people, in particular in rural areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its October I plenary session on an own-initiative report emphasising the need for an ambitious and strong EU forest strategy beyond 2020, aligned with the European Green Deal and the 2030 biodiversity strategy, and coordinated with the Farm to Fork strategy.

The EU pig meat sector

01-09-2020

The 150 million pigs reared across the EU represent the largest livestock category before that of bovines, and the EU pig meat sector alone accounts for nearly half of total EU meat production. Germany, Spain and France contribute more than half of the total amount of pig meat produced in the EU. The sector is highly diverse, with huge differences in rearing methods and farm sizes across the Member States: from backyard farming to industrial installations with thousands of animals. Within the common ...

The 150 million pigs reared across the EU represent the largest livestock category before that of bovines, and the EU pig meat sector alone accounts for nearly half of total EU meat production. Germany, Spain and France contribute more than half of the total amount of pig meat produced in the EU. The sector is highly diverse, with huge differences in rearing methods and farm sizes across the Member States: from backyard farming to industrial installations with thousands of animals. Within the common agricultural policy (CAP), the pig meat sector is covered by the common organisation of markets regulating trade and providing support in the event of a sectoral crisis. Farmers can also receive rural development funding under the second pillar of the CAP, for example, to make necessary investments on their farms. A large number of EU legislative acts apply to this sector, covering various aspects of pig farming: environmental protection, food safety and public health, organic production, animal health and welfare. However, evidence shows a lack of compliance with EU regulations on the welfare of pigs and the persistence of harmful routine practices. Another challenge is the air, soil and water pollution caused by intensive pig farming, which takes a heavy toll on the environment. The EU is currently the world's top exporter of pig meat products and its exports have been boosted by the fall in production in Asia, where African swine fever is decimating millions of animals. Increased demand for EU pork pushed prices to a peak in early 2020. In the coming years, the pig production sector may be impacted by the evolution of the policy environment: negotiations on a new CAP are ongoing and the recently published Green Deal initiative and Farm to Fork strategy, both of which promote greener and more sustainable agriculture and food systems, mention the future revision of legislation relevant to the pig sector, including on animal welfare.

Agroforestry in the European Union

25-06-2020

Agroforestry is a very ancient agricultural practice that is still widely implemented in certain EU countries, and is gaining renewed interest due to its many economic and environmental benefits. It is a dynamic system combining trees, crops and/or livestock on the same area of land in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. Prominent examples are the dehesa in Spain (oak trees with livestock grazing underneath) and the Fennoscandian area (covering Finland, Norway, and Sweden in their ...

Agroforestry is a very ancient agricultural practice that is still widely implemented in certain EU countries, and is gaining renewed interest due to its many economic and environmental benefits. It is a dynamic system combining trees, crops and/or livestock on the same area of land in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. Prominent examples are the dehesa in Spain (oak trees with livestock grazing underneath) and the Fennoscandian area (covering Finland, Norway, and Sweden in their entireties, and a part of Russia), where reindeer husbandry is practised. The main types of agroforestry include the silvopastoral and silvoarable systems, forest farming, hedgerows, riparian buffer strips and kitchen gardens. A number of studies have attempted to classify the existing systems, a task made difficult by the number of possible combinations of woody components/crops/livestock and the variety of criteria to consider. A comprehensive European project on agroforestry suggests that it covers a total area of more than 15 million hectares in the EU, or 52 million hectares if reindeer husbandry is included. Agroforestry systems, which are sustainable and multifunctional, provide many environmental benefits. They contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, protect the soil, enhance biodiversity and improve the overall condition of the landscapes. That way, they are also beneficial to the local rural economy, as those improved landscapes offer cultural and recreational opportunities. Moreover, agroforestry farmers can diversify their production, reduce some costs and achieve better productivity. However agroforestry is usually more complex and knowledge-intensive than conventional agriculture and may involve a greater administrative burden. Agroforestry enjoys EU-level recognition and support from the common agricultural policy (CAP). Farmers can receive direct payments per hectare of land under agroforestry, as well as support for the establishment or maintenance of agroforestry systems under the rural development strand of the CAP. Innovation and research in this field may also be supported. The European Parliament has recognised the benefits of agroforestry in several resolutions, and called for more effective support for a range of sustainable production methods, including agroforestry.

The EU poultry meat and egg sector: Main features, challenges and prospects

26-11-2019

While the EU chicken-meat and egg sector shows some diversity in terms of farm and flock size, yield and types of farming within and between European countries, it is known to be one of the most intensive farming systems in the EU, with farms numbering hundreds of thousands of birds. This paper aims to provide an overview of the sector's structure in the EU and of the relevant legislation and policy instruments – from CAP support to farmers, and trade and marketing standards, to legislation with ...

While the EU chicken-meat and egg sector shows some diversity in terms of farm and flock size, yield and types of farming within and between European countries, it is known to be one of the most intensive farming systems in the EU, with farms numbering hundreds of thousands of birds. This paper aims to provide an overview of the sector's structure in the EU and of the relevant legislation and policy instruments – from CAP support to farmers, and trade and marketing standards, to legislation with relevance to food safety, animal health and welfare, and environmental protection. The analysis focuses on the main issues affecting the sector, a number of which are linked to the large-scale and intensive methods of production widely used. Attention is also given to the outlook for the sector and international trade aspects, as the EU is one of the top four chicken-meat producers in the world. Attention is also given to the European Parliament's recent resolution on animal welfare, antimicrobial use and the environmental impact of industrial broiler farming. This paper is one in an EPRS series focusing on the EU's various agricultural sectors.

The EU dairy sector: Main features, challenges and prospects

17-12-2018

The EU dairy sector is the second biggest agricultural sector in the EU, representing more than 12 % of total agricultural output. While milk is produced in all Member States, farm and herd sizes, yields and types of farming vary widely across Europe, from free-range farming in Alpine areas to large specialised dairy farms in the north-west and centre of Europe. In 2016, 157 million tonnes of milk were delivered to dairies, where raw milk is processed into fresh products such as cheese or butter. ...

The EU dairy sector is the second biggest agricultural sector in the EU, representing more than 12 % of total agricultural output. While milk is produced in all Member States, farm and herd sizes, yields and types of farming vary widely across Europe, from free-range farming in Alpine areas to large specialised dairy farms in the north-west and centre of Europe. In 2016, 157 million tonnes of milk were delivered to dairies, where raw milk is processed into fresh products such as cheese or butter. Part of the common agricultural policy, the EU's dairy policy consists of a range of instruments designed to support farmers and address market imbalances. In particular, it includes common market organisation, public intervention and private storage provisions, direct payments and rural development measures. The policy has been constantly updated over time, one recent development being the suppression of milk quotas in 2015. The 2014 to 2016 crisis, during which raw milk prices dropped dramatically from around 40 to 25.7 cents per litre, triggered a reaction by the Commission based on public intervention-buying, private storage and a range of exceptional measures. Two aid packages were adopted, including incentives for farmers to reduce production. Recovery was in sight by 2017. In the coming years, growing EU and global demand is expected to support world dairy markets, without hindering price fluctuations and market imbalances. Resilience and sustainability are key words for the future of the sector. This can be achieved with innovation, as a way to reconcile the need for farmers to earn a decent living, consumer demand for affordable and quality dairy products, and environmental/animal health requirements.

EYE event - Urban-rural divide: Blame it all on my roots...

16-05-2018

From the remote Scottish islands to the Danube Delta in Romania, via the Alps, rural Europe shows sharply contrasting landscapes and climates as well as manifest economic and demographic differences. Rural reality in Europe is complex: statistics highlight general trends, showing not only that many rural areas suffer from a number of socio-economic issues, but also that they have many assets, not least dynamic stakeholders and local communities, and the potential to help address critical societal ...

From the remote Scottish islands to the Danube Delta in Romania, via the Alps, rural Europe shows sharply contrasting landscapes and climates as well as manifest economic and demographic differences. Rural reality in Europe is complex: statistics highlight general trends, showing not only that many rural areas suffer from a number of socio-economic issues, but also that they have many assets, not least dynamic stakeholders and local communities, and the potential to help address critical societal challenges. Dedicated EU policies and tools provide rural players with support as they strive to achieve balanced territorial development and harness the full potential of rural territories.

Agricultural education and lifelong training in the EU

24-10-2017

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate ...

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate change; meet society's demands regarding healthy and balanced diets; and keep up with increasingly rapid scientific and technological progress. It is therefore essential that farmers benefit from adequate agricultural education and training and acquire the various skills needed to adapt to a changing environment. On average, only 8.5 % of the present generation of European farmers have received full agricultural training, and 70 % have only practical experience. Initial training is a national competence and agricultural education systems vary widely throughout the EU. They provide the path to a wide range of careers in agriculture and forestry and deliver degrees in a number of disciplines, from diploma courses with a vocational orientation to bachelor degrees or doctorates in applied sciences. The current common agricultural policy places strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and innovation. It provides for specific measures to help farmers access advice and training throughout their working lives. Support is also provided for innovation via the European innovation partnership network for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP-Agri). In several recent resolutions, the European Parliament has stressed the importance of education and training for farmers, in particular as a way to foster their ability to work in an ever-evolving sector.

Rural poverty in the European Union

13-03-2017

In 2015, 119 million European citizens, representing almost a quarter of the EU population, were at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Statistics show that the average poverty rate is slightly higher in rural areas, with very contrasting situations across the Union as some countries display a huge poverty gap between rural and urban areas. Rural poverty, which appears to be less documented than urban poverty, is linked to the specific disadvantages of rural areas. These include an unfavourable ...

In 2015, 119 million European citizens, representing almost a quarter of the EU population, were at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Statistics show that the average poverty rate is slightly higher in rural areas, with very contrasting situations across the Union as some countries display a huge poverty gap between rural and urban areas. Rural poverty, which appears to be less documented than urban poverty, is linked to the specific disadvantages of rural areas. These include an unfavourable demographic situation, a weaker labour market, limited access to education and also remoteness and rural isolation. The latter is associated with a lack of basic services such as healthcare and social services, and with increased costs for inhabitants on account of travel distances. These factors are considered to be the main drivers of rural poverty. Through their interaction, they can generate a spiral of decline in which poverty can become entrenched. While the fight against poverty and social exclusion lies primarily within the remit of the Member States and their regions, this issue is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Several EU funds and policies can contribute to alleviating poverty, in particular the current EU rural development policy which, for the first time, includes a priority relating to the promotion of social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas. Within this policy, Member States and regions can use EU funding to implement measures that, although not directly targeting poverty reduction, may help tackle those drivers of poverty in many ways, such as fostering job creation, improving services, developing infrastructure for information and communications technologies (ICT), and enhancing access to education. In this regard, local strategies such as the Leader method are particularly suited to supporting disadvantaged groups.

Climate-friendly forest management in the EU

16-12-2016

Forests are highly sensitive to climate change and, in particular, the rise in average global temperatures caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. They are also part of the solution, as they absorb and stock carbon as biomass through photosynthesis. Their potential to help mitigate climate change makes forests a central element of current international and European climate policies. In July 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for integrating emissions and carbon gas removals from ...

Forests are highly sensitive to climate change and, in particular, the rise in average global temperatures caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. They are also part of the solution, as they absorb and stock carbon as biomass through photosynthesis. Their potential to help mitigate climate change makes forests a central element of current international and European climate policies. In July 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for integrating emissions and carbon gas removals from land-use and forestry in the European Union climate and energy framework for 2030. In contrast to the global situation, total forest area is growing in the European Union, covering 41 % of the total land area. The forestry sector is an important source of employment and diversification in EU rural areas. The demand for wood is expected to increase as it presents many environmental benefits, such as a replacement for fossil fuels or carbon-intensive materials. In a complex international and European policy environment, the European Union forest strategy, published by the European Commission in 2013, seeks to provide Member States with a coherent framework supporting sustainable forest management. The main European instrument for implementation is the European agricultural fund for rural development. This co-finances forest-related measures, including those specifically targeting climate change mitigation such as afforestation or the establishment of agroforestry systems. More than €8 billion in public expenditure has been earmarked for such measures in the current 2014-2020 programming period.

The CAP and job creation in rural areas

19-10-2016

Many of the EU's rural areas are facing serious economic and demographic challenges, and the number of farmers has decreased drastically over the last few decades. As discussions have already begun on possible ways to reform the current common agricultural policy (CAP), an own-initiative report on the policy's role in creating jobs in rural areas is due to be debated and voted at the European Parliament's second October plenary session.

Many of the EU's rural areas are facing serious economic and demographic challenges, and the number of farmers has decreased drastically over the last few decades. As discussions have already begun on possible ways to reform the current common agricultural policy (CAP), an own-initiative report on the policy's role in creating jobs in rural areas is due to be debated and voted at the European Parliament's second October plenary session.

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26-10-2020
European Gender Equality Week - October 26-29, 2020
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27-10-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | Beyond Christendom - The politics of religion in Europe today
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27-10-2020
JURI: ICM Meeting on "Better Law Making from a digital perspective"
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