Sustainable Prosperity for Europe

Water and Agriculture in Europe: Improving policies to preserve resources

28 September 2017

Agriculture is putting considerable pressure on freshwater resources. The sector accounts for 44% of total water use in Europe, a figure which can rise to 80% in some regions. At the same time, 25% of Europe’s groundwater is in poor condition, mainly due to the use of fertilizers. Increasing demand for food is expected to further increase the demand for water. Preserving natural resources, such as water, is a concern for all parties, as the future sustainability and viability of agriculture in Europe depends on it. This will likely be one of the key objectives included in the European Commission’s forthcoming Communication on ‘Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)’. In his keynote speech, EU Commissioner Hogan outlined the Commission’s vision for improving water resource management in agriculture. He then took part in a debate with key stakeholders to discuss the current impact of agriculture on freshwater and the role of the future CAP to ensure more sustainable practices. This Policy Dialogue was organised by the European Policy Centre (EPC) in cooperation with WWF.

Speakers included: Annika Hedberg, Senior Policy Analyst at the EPC, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, Andrea Kohl, Programme Director at WWF-European Policy Office, Robert de Graeff, Senior Policy Advisor at the European Landowners’ Organisation, Guillaume Gruère, Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD’s Trade and Agriculture Directorate.