Common Agricultural Policy 2021-2027

June 2019

Background and request for advice

In May 2018 the European Commission presented proposals for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2021–2027. These proposals give Member States greater leeway to work towards sustainability and regional objectives. The CAP consists of two pillars: Pillar 1 on direct payments to farmers, and Pillar 2 on the EU’s rural development policy.

The European Commission is committed to stricter conditions for income support (climate, soil, water, biodiversity) and to working with national eco-schemes that go further than the legal requirements under nature, environmental or climate policy. The types of rural development interventions include payments for environmental, climate and other management commitments that Member States should support throughout their territories according to their national, regional or local specific needs. The European Commission leaves these important decisions to the Member States, which will have to draw up and submit national CAP Strategic Plans.

In September 2018 the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality published the policy vision ‘Agriculture, nature and food: valuable and connected’. This states that the future of our food supplies can best be secured by making the transition to circular, or closed-loop, agriculture and that the Netherlands should lead the way in circular agriculture.

At the request of the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Council will advise on how the reform of the CAP can support this transition to circular agriculture in the Netherlands. The study sets out to answer the following questions:

  • What scope is there for using CAP funds to achieve not only the legally required but also additional objectives for agriculture, nature and water that will help drive the transition to circular agriculture?
  • How can the national strategic plan most effectively tailor measures under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 to meet objectives for climate, soil, biodiversity, environment and the landscape?


photo: ‘flower-rich field margins enhance biodiversity’, photographer: Lilian Pruissen
photo: Lilian Pruissen - ‘flower-rich field margins enhance biodiversity’


The advice will focus on the possibilities offered by implementation of the CAP for supporting the transition to a circular agriculture that is future-proof, resilient and robust and that meets the requirements of environmental, climate, biodiversity, soil, water, animal welfare, landscape and public health policies.


This advisory report is expected to be published in June 2019.

Advisory committee

Krijn Poppe, Council member and committee chair
Ingrid Odegard, junior Council member

External committee members

Annemie Burger
Dr Wouter van der Weijden

Information or response: 

If you would like further information, please contact Hannah Koutstaal, project leader, at or call +31 6 52874404