European Agri-environmental Policy: Evolution, Effectiveness, and Challenges
Helle Ørsted Nielsen,
Sven Wunder and
Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2022, vol. 16, issue 1, 105 - 125
European agri-environmental policy has diverse and competing objectives. The Common Agricultural Policy has been the main policy framework guiding the European Union (EU) and its member states in the design and implementation of both mandatory and voluntary agri-environmental policy instruments. Voluntary agri-environmental schemes, which were introduced in the 1990s, continue to play a central role in meeting the EU’s environmental and climate objectives. We find that in achieving their objectives these schemes have faced problems including limited environmental impact, low adoption by farmers, and conflicts between their environmental and income support objectives. The article also finds scant empirical evidence concerning the environmental and economic impacts of the agri-environmental schemes. The article concludes with a discussion of the lessons from past experiences and potential future research and policy directions aimed at increasing the EU’s achievement of agri-environmental and climate objectives.
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