The health of European soil is in poor condition, and the European Union and its member states are not making sufficient use of the opportunities to improve soil management.
This is stated by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in a critical report on the policies of the European Commission and the member states. Although there are financial resources available to address the most urgent soil problems, the member states and the European Commission are not taking advantage of them. The quality of European soil is under pressure, partly due to excessive fertilization. The average level of organic carbon in EU soil is 43.1 grams per kilogram on average.
Large areas of soil are unhealthy
“In Europe, there are large areas of unhealthy soil,” says Eva Lindström, a member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report on the state of the soil. Lindström argues that the European Union needs to take action. “We cannot leave future generations to their own devices.”
Previous research has shown that 60 to 70% of European soil is unhealthy. Improvements can be made by efficiently utilizing the resources provided by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for this purpose. However, the European Court of Auditors concludes that the conditions imposed on farmers to receive agricultural subsidies do not go far enough to protect the soil. “The soil requirements imposed by EU countries entail minimal changes in agricultural practices and can only marginally improve soil health.” The stricter requirements in the CAP for the period 2023-2027 have made little difference in this regard, according to the Court of Auditors.