ABSTRACT

This chapter probes three instruments the EU has used to address the issue of agricultural runoff: the Nitrates Directive (ND), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and one of its macroregional strategies, the EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region (SBSR). In the context of EU agricultural law and governance, the ND was among the first legal instruments to directly target the issue. Explaining the traces of adaptivity it entails, it is argued as a simple answer to a complex dilemma: site-specificity, nitrate-vulnerable zones, or targeting have not been adequate means to tackle the problem of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea that intense agriculture causes. By then analysing the development of the CAP in reaching socio-ecological sustainability in a series of reforms – the MacSharry reform, Agenda 2000, the Fischler reform, the Fischler II reform, the post-2013 reform – the chapter argues that the CAP has faced a constant yet unhurried movement towards accepting the ecological goals. The chapter continues by analysing the third governance instrument, the SBSR, and its role in the complex web of diffuse land-based pollution governance in the Baltic Sea region. The SBSR is credited for being the most inclusive of the tools – earning the EU regulator the nickname of ‘the candid regulator’ – for the farmers have credited the collaborative governance it embodies. The two last-mentioned instruments make a peculiar comparison for the one consumes a majority of the EU’s budget while the other is known for the three ‘no’s, including a ban on allocating extra funds for governance.