The contract for the study, which was commissioned by the Parliament to examine potential reform measures relevant to legume crops, was awarded to Legume Futures team members Peter Zander, Moritz Reckling, Sara Preisel and Andrea Bues (ZALF), Tom Kuhlmann (Wageningen), Christine Watson and Kairsty Topp (SRUC), Fred Stoddard (Helsinki) and Donal Murphy-Bokern.
Today's publication follows the team's presentation of the study to the Parliament's Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee on 25 April.
The study reviewed the scientific evidence about the environmental effects of protein crops. All protein crops are legumes, and so the study focused on grain legumes. The study theme is framed by the Commission’s proposals for the reform of the CAP that are currently the subject of debate between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. The report provides an in-depth review of the history of legume production in the EU, particularly in relation to the development of agricultural policy. The effects of protein crop production on the environment and natural resources is examined in relation to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The reports discusses the ratonale for supporting legume production, particulaly under 'greening', and assesses the range of measures currently beng discussed in the policy community.
This work for the Parliament built directly on the wider and longer-term Legume Futures research work. Peter Zander (ZALF) who led the study: "This contract enabled us to extract the knowledge relevant to the CAP reform process and focus it on the needs of policy-makers in the final stages of the reform process. We were able to engage intensively with the reform process as it unfolded drawing on the work in Legume Futures but also adding additional analysis for the specific needs of the Parliament.”
Empowering decision-makers by providing understanding of the key processes in a balanced and objective way was a guiding principle in conducting the study. The team gave priority to conveying understanding of the key processes, impacts and policy options. Christine Watson (SRUC): "Even though the policy positions of the Commission and Parliament may differ, it was clear from the debate at the Parliament following our presentation that both institutions appreciated this approach."
In line with the increasing role of the European Parliament in EU legislation under the Treaty of Lisbon, the Parliament is strengthening its role in evidence-based policy development. This involves supporting the co-decision process with applied policy research and studies. This study was established by the Parliament using a competitive procurement process. The official reference is:
Service contract IP/B/AGRI/IC/2012-067 "The environmental role of protein crops in the new Common Agricultural Policy".
Members of the study team at the European Parliamet, L to R: Peter Zander, Sara Preißel, Fred Stoddard, Andrea Beus, Christine Watson and Donal Murphy-Bokern