Overview

The EU agricultural outlook, published once a year, presents the outlook for major EU agricultural markets, income and environment until 2030. It is based on a set of assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, the agricultural and trade policy environment, and international market developments.

These assumptions imply relatively smooth market developments while in reality markets tend to be much more volatile. Therefore, the outlook is not a forecast. More precisely, the projections correspond to the average trend agricultural markets are expected to follow in a given macroeconomic environment were policies to remain unchanged.

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About the report

The report covers the EU in its current composition (EU-27), following Brexit, which took place on 31 January 2020. It presents the medium-term outlook for the EU agricultural markets, income and environment to 2030, based on a set of coherent macroeconomic assumptions deemed most plausible at the time of the analysis. Oil price and population forecasts (based on IHS Markit) were updated on 16 October 2020 and the exchange rate and GDP forecast (based on European Commission’s forecast) on 5 November 2020.

The analyses of agricultural markets rely on information available at the end of September 2020 for agricultural production and trade and on an agro-economic model used by the European Commission. Projections assume a continuation of current agricultural and trade policies, and not the ones under discussion such as the post-2020 CAP reform, the next multi-annual financial framework or the European Green Deal. Only free trade agreements ratified at the end of September 2020 are taken into account.

The report is also accompanied by analysis of a selected set of market uncertainties in order to quantify the potential for variation in the results. Possible variations stem in particular from fluctuations in the macroeconomic environment and in yields of the main crops and milk. Specific scenarios are also presented for COVID-19 recovery pathways and for insects as a source of proteins for feed.

As part of the preparatory process, an external review of the baseline and the scenarios around market uncertainties was conducted at an outlook workshop organised online on 21-22 October 2020. During this event, valuable inputs were collected from high-level policy makers, European and international modelling and market experts, private companies and other stakeholders, as well as from international organisations such as the OECD and the FAO.

This European Commission report is a joint effort between the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), DG AGRI being responsible for the content. While every effort is made to provide a robust outlook for agricultural markets, income and environment, strong uncertainties remain – hence the importance given to analysing uncertainties, particularly in the context of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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