In the Baltic Sea Region, CAP implementation has had limited success in reducing negative environmental impacts from agriculture and enhancing the ecosystem services that farms provide. The proposed CAP reforms for 2014 and beyond should offer a chance to make the policy more effective at meeting the region’s needs.
Agriculture in the BSR is very diverse, with a wide range of farm sizes and a mix of intensive and extensive farming systems. Our research suggests that this diversity should be viewed as an asset, because it provides multiple opportunities to generate ecosystem services and other public goods.
Policy-makers should embrace approaches that support a more diverse agricultural sector – but this will require a more flexible CAP payment scheme than is currently envisioned.
Many agri-environmental measures implemented under Pillar 2 have failed to produce the expected results, or had unexpected or unintended consequences. In most of the BSR countries, stakeholders reported a significant mismatch between the financial incentives available and the market forces they aim to influence. In general, farmers feel they are underpaid.
There is a broad distrust of the farm payment system, among farmers and land owners as well as among civil servants, NGOs and the private sector. Other widely cited problems included the lack of measures designed for different agricultural systems and the lack of effective monitoring. Across the region, the national studies found a need for more stakeholder involvement, including the private sector and civil society, and greater cross-sectoral coordination to improve the design and implementation of measures.
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Note: The work is part of Baltic COMPASS, a project funded by the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme that aims to increase the legitimacy of adaptive governance processes in integrated agricultural-environmental policy development and deepen that integration in the Baltic Sea Region. This policy brief was part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument), but the authors are solely responsible for its contents and conclusions.