Talking Europe

It's not easy being green: Making European farming more sustainable (part 2)


It's not easy being green... or is it? In this out-and-about edition of Talking Europe, we're looking at how well EU countries have been doing on one of the major contributors to carbon emissions: farming. In this part of the show, we're in Alsace, on the French side of the Franco-German border. While Germany is a big agricultural player in Europe, France is even bigger: almost half of its land is given over to farming and France is the number one recipient of EU farm subsidies.


Recent figures show that around 10 percent of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture of all kinds... something a policy known as greening was supposed to address, as well as reducing excessive use of chemicals, and increasing the amount of organic farming.

However in summer 2020, the French state auditors said the EU's greening policy was failing.

So with new policies being debated and voted into action, plus the added pressures of coronavirus, how green is the future of European farming looking? 

In our programme we compare and contrast visions of greening in Germany and France. 

In this second part of the show, we travel to Alsace, on the German border, to speak with Daniel Starck of the Small Farmers' Union (Confédération Paysanne) to discuss what he hopes the next Common Agricultural Policy will hold for environmentally-minded farmers like him.

Plus, Anne Sander, French MEP for the centre-right EPP group, explains why the next CAP has an essential role to play in protecting both farmers' income and the environment – even as its budget is slashed by 10 percent.

And just how easy is it for Green agricultural groups to get their message across in Brussels? Our EU correspondent Alix Le Bourdon investigates how lobby groups are waging a battle for the future of European farming.

Finally, Mathilde Benezet reports on a niche with a potentially big future: EU-grown medicinal plants like arnica. They may cost more than imported varieties, but French researchers say having a ready supply of the raw material on their doorstep is a real advantage.

>> Click here to watch part one of the show


Show presented by Catherine Nicholson, produced by Johan Bodin, filmed on location by Stéphane Bodenne, with Luke Brown, Céline Schmitt and Mathilde Bénézet.


Co-funded by the IMCAP Programme of the European Union

“The content of this show represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.”




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