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The European Union And Environmental Sustainability

2851 words - 12 pages

“Unquestionably the EU now exerts the most important and effective influence on both British and Irish environmental policy and politics (McGowan, 1999: 175).” The European Union has developed itself into one of the world leaders in relation to environmental standards and its ability to apply legislation to its member states. Both, at present and in the past, challenges and opportunities have been encountered, and will continue to be encountered into the future. Indeed, Europe now directly impacts on food producers and manufacturers through the implementation of various policies such as the Nitrates Directive and issues surrounding Climate Change - both of which are the dealt with in this paper respectively. Through these and other policies it has carved itself a “green” image focused on safeguarding the health and well-being of its population. These will now act as the basis behind further initiatives into the future. The most significant of these in this area is the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and it is it that is the focal point of the academic writing I have undertaken. From it I will discuss, most notably, how promising directives, such as the nitrates directive, with significantly beneficial core objectives, may be limiting our food producers in how it has been implemented. With the CAP being such a major part of the EU budget, although it has decreased sharply over the past 25 years, from “73% in 1985 to 41% in 2012” (European Commission, 2013), it still represents a major amount of total EU expenditure. This drop in budget, however, has led to other challenges for farmers, namely the implementation of milk quota in 1983. However, with quotas set to be abolished from 2015 onwards, a window of opportunity now graces the sector. In continuation with the CAP discussion, the subject of Climate Change will inevitably become an increasing factor for policy makers. The necessity for such policies and the challenge of how they may be implemented is dealt with further in this paper. Indeed, the question is posed; did the EU miss an opportunity with the 2013 CAP reform?

When considering the challenges and opportunities posed by EU non market policies, we must look at both the food producer and the manufacturer as both can have positive and negative reactions. Going forward, global warming is now high on the agenda of policy makers. With agriculture a high contributor, it is unsurprising that measures are being introduced that have effect on the producers’ and manufacturers’. The buzz word now associated with the future of the environment and the food industry is “sustainability”. This refers to sustainable growth as the producers (farmers) try to maximise output. Moreover, with world populations set to dramatically increase up to 2050, the EU and the world must find ways to promote food production. Therefore, policies are now becoming more difficult and multifunctional. This is symbolised through the increasing awareness of the environment and...

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