How to ensure the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the EU agri-food sector with future enlargement?

Practical information

Composition of the Study group and timeline
Administrators / Assistant in charge: Martine DELANOY/ Isabel ANTUNES


In the Granada declaration, the leaders of the European Union confirmed looking ahead to the prospect of a further enlarged Union as a driver for improving the economic and social conditions of European citizens, while fostering the values on which the Union is founded. This was also stated in the context of SOTEU 2023, where President von der Leyen further underlined the importance of engaging with farmers in a strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in the EU.

Accession of candidate countries to the European Union would have a strong impact on the agricultural sector. In particular, when Ukraine is to join the EU, it will add one third of arable land to the EU and almost one third of the cereal production. Ukraine's agricultural sector is also characterized by very large farms, while the EU is characterised by its high proportion of farms of small size. 

The enlargement of the EU will provide opportunities for the Union to achieve a greater autonomy in food production and become an even more important agri-food trade partner globally, while disseminating his high sustainability standards (social, environmental and economic sustainability of the agri-food sector).

The objective of this exploratory opinion requested by the European Commission is to explore the characteristics of the agricultural sectors of candidate countries and provide recommendations to prepare the ground ensuring that future enlargement is beneficial both to farmers in candidate countries and in the EU and effectively contributes to achieving the EU's sustainability objectives and Agenda 2030.