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There has been no declaration, troops are not mobilised, no foreign country is occupied. But the EU is nonetheless at war — with its own farmers.
Under the guise of environmental concerns, European regulation has slowly squeezed farmers – especially livestock farmers – to breaking point. The aim of European policy in the post-War period “never hungry again” seems like a distant memory.
This report examines the transformation of European agricultural policy into a tool of environmental policy. Rather than promoting low prices and productive farmers, agriculture now promotes lowering emissions, reducing nitrogen, rewilding, habitats and a host of other concerns. As part of this transformation, the report traces the outsized influence of environmental ideology and environmental NGOs. Farmers – who play a central role not just in feeding Europe but in Europe’s very identity – have by contrast very little influence in the corridors of Brussels.
But farmers have begun a fightback — and this report illustrates and champions this resistance. It shows that with determination, organisation and public support, the outcome of the silent war on farming is not a foregone conclusion.
The fact that this war is silent – receiving little media attention or sympathetic speeches from European parliamentarians – only makes it more important to understand how we got here. This report is a start in that direction.