The 4th [Pan-European Conference of Environment Ministers], [Environment for Europe] (Ã…rhus 1998) was considered a further step ahead in the integration of Central and Eastern Europe with Western Europe in the sphere of the environment. The importance of the impact of agriculture on biodiversity was also highlighted in the [Pan-European Biodiversity and Landscape Strategy]: "In particular, we note that land use has a strong impact on biological and landscape diversity and that there are currently wide opportunities for progress as well as potential risks in this area. To take advantage of opportunities and to avoid negative impacts, we will take initiatives to integrate biodiversity considerations into the agricultural sector within EU enlargement and in transition processes".
In response to the requirements of the implementation of Article 6 of the EU Amsterdam Treaty concerning the integration of environmental protection and sustainable development in all Community policies and activities, the European Commission produced a Communication to the European Council [Partnership for Integration: a strategy for Integrating Environment into EU Policies] (Cardiff, 1998). This Communication pointed out that "integration of environmental considerations into other policies is no longer an option but an obligation". Agriculture was seen as a key area. In 1999, a number of strategies of the Council for the integration of environment in sectors were adopted at the [Helsinki Summit]. The paper stresses amongst other things the multifunctional role of agriculture; the European model of agriculture [Agenda 2000]; consumer concerns; sustainable agriculture in the framework of EU-enlargement; non-trade concerns in the WTO-round; development of indicators; and coherence between agricultural and environmental policy.
2. There are several approaches for resolving agricultural problems, including taxing fertilizers and pesticides and encouraging better food assurance schemes and labelling. There should be a shift in subsidies toward environmental protection and agri-environment schemes, which modify agricultural practices in favour of the environment and native species.