The Netherlands: state plans to buy livestock farms

The Dutch government wants to buy up and close down livestock farms with excessive nitrogen emissions for 120 per cent of their market price. The EU Commission has given the green light for the 1.5 billion euro scheme after ruling that it does not constitute illegal subsidies. Previous government plans aimed at halving nitrogen emissions had met with fierce resistance.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Attractive prospect even for opponents

De Volkskrant sees a way out of the long-standing dispute:

“If [Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Christianne] van der Wal coordinates her strategy well, there is a chance that the false narrative according to which she is aiming to kill off the entire Dutch livestock industry will also come to an end. Even for the [right-wing populist protest party] Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), which is currently negotiating a coalition agreement in 12 provinces, this is an attractive prospect. The BBB also knows that one way or another the amount of nitrogen polluting natural areas has to be reduced.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

State must clarify the situation

De Telegraaf doubts that the conflict can be resolved with the proposed solution:

“Many livestock farmers have no intention of selling their well-performing farms to the state, despite the state describing the buy-out scheme as 'very attractive'. Moreover, it is not at all clear who is entitled to which scheme. The government has made 1.5 billion euros available - for a scheme that applies to 13,000 farms. ... Already there are warnings that this sum is far too low. ... The ball is in the state's court. First of all every farmer must receive a clear explanation of the consequences of the policy for his farm. Families in rural areas must not be left in a state of uncertainty for any longer.”