The Dutch are now likely to row back on previous announcements that the country would not seek to renew its current nitrates derogation.

This comes as a new coalition was formed in the Netherlands this week, which includes the country’s farmers’ party.

EU-focused media in Brussels report that a key element of the coalition text signed this Thursday is that another nitrates derogation would be sought from the EU nitrates directive.

The new coalition government agreement also outlined that national laws stricter on farmers than EU legislation would not be approved, while also pushing for more flexibility in Brussels.

A new government had failed to emerge in the Netherlands following last November’s elections, until this week.

Derogation countries

Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands all currently have nitrates derogations. Ireland’s expires at the end of 2025, as does the Netherlands'. Denmark’s will expire on 31 July 2024.

In October 2022, the Netherlands negotiated what its then-government indicated would be its final derogation with Brussels.

It was granted a derogation until the end of 2025, with the condition that the maximum organic nitrogen allowance would be stepped down each year.

Farmers in the Netherlands could farm at the maximum rate of 250kg N/ha in 2022 and, since then, the ceiling has reduced by 10kg N/ha each year.