Fork in the road: How a right turn will change European farming

By Paula Andrés | 05/31/2024 01:10 PM EDT

The next European Parliament is likely to push back harder against the green farming agenda and faces a challenge to reform the common agricultural policy.

A farmer in a tractor and burning tires block a street during a demonstration in Brussels.

A farmer in a tractor and burning tires block a street during a European farmers' demonstration in Brussels in March. James Arthur Gekiere/Belga/AFP via Getty Images

If you think farming policy in the European Union isn’t green enough, don’t hold your breath for the next five years.

The agriculture committee (AGRI) in the most recent European Parliament was known for leaning conservative, especially compared to the environment committee (ENVI), with the two clashing over the EU’s green farming agenda, the Farm to Fork strategy. AGRI was also strongly pro-farmer — due in large part to the number of farmers who served on it.

Next month’s European election could return a more right-wing assembly to oversee the EU’s €387 billion farm budget, according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls. At the same time, Green Party lawmakers — the most vocal supporters of the Green Deal — could lose up to a third of their seats, while the number of Socialist and Liberal members of Parliament could also shrink.


In practice this means there’s unlikely to be a viable coalition of the center-left, liberal, Green and left that can secure deals such as the nature restoration law that sparked controversy in this past term. Meanwhile, the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) will find it easier to build majorities with groups further to the right.