RESEARCH TOUR – Farmers, populism & climate action: Lessons from post-election Netherlands for the EU’s future agriculture and climate policies

We are inviting: Journalists based in Europe
03 Mar - 06 Mar 2024
Amsterdam, Netherlands and Brussels
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[Applications are closed]

Populist leaders and parties are on the rise in many European countries. In the Netherlands, the far right politician Geert Wilders could become the next prime minister, with the BBB (Farmer-Citizen Movement) as a potential coalition partner, which got strong support from farmers who felt threatened by measures of the previous government and the EU. Following the Paris agreement and other activities to fight global warming, agriculture is gaining more attention from policymakers worldwide. Yet, while steps to reduce emissions in other sectors are also often difficult to implement, changes to farming and food production are particularly emotionally charged as recent protests in Germany proved. To complicate matters, much of the support for agriculture is set through the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and accusing "Brussels" of hurting farmers' interests is a common trope in many member states.

While the coalition talks led by Wilders continue, politicians all over Europe try to find answers to populist challenges ahead of the EU elections in June. What follows from the fact that climate action is not a priority issue for most Dutch voters? What are the consequences of the EU’s Nature Restoration Law? How does the EU react to the surge of fake news, which is expected to further increase during the election campaigns? Clean Energy Wire offers journalists based in Europe a chance to find answers to these and other questions during a study trip to the Netherlands and Brussels on 3-6 March 2024.

Old and new windmills in the Netherlands. Credit: Tim van der Kuip unsplash

Context: Which climate and energy topics were important in the election?

One of the main election issues was the future of agriculture and specifically the very high deposition of reactive nitrogen compounds. The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the United States. Agriculture is responsible for 15 percent of the country’s carbon emissions and plays a major role in its rising nitrogen pollution, together with the dense population and heavy traffic. The Netherlands’ nitrogen strategy contains measures for industry, agriculture, transport and the construction sector to reduce nitrogen deposition and improve the quality of nature. Nitrogen issues have triggered strong opposition to the EU Nature Restoration Law, as national politicians fear that new regulations could hamper economic activities, as they did during the so-called nitrogen crisis in 2019. While farming is one of the sectors most vulnerably affected by global warming worldwide, around 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions still come from agriculture and land use activities.

For more information on the Dutch election outcome, including party stances, read CLEW's factsheet here.

What will happen next?

Even though the right-wing and populist PVV became the biggest party in the elections on 22 November, coalition forming can take months. A new government will have the difficult task to reduce nitrogen emissions, which are currently threatening nature areas. Meanwhile, the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council have agreed, after intense negotiations, on the Nature Restoration Law. The law has been under attack by populist parties all over Europe and also by parts of the mainstream conservative European People's Party (EPP), which especially oppose the requirement "to renature 10 percent of farmland." The law will now have to go through a final plenary vote in the European Parliament and will then have to be implemented by each member state.

Join CLEW’s research tour

A group of 16-20 journalists based in Europe will get the chance to take part in a tailor-made visit to the Netherlands. After a general introduction to the country’s contemporary history and politics, they will participate in face-to-face meetings with selected experts and politicians and will get the chance to establish direct contacts with politicians, experts and community leaders with different points of view and agendas. They will discuss Dutch domestic political issues and will assess the effects on the country of the EU Green Deal, the Nature Restoration Law and related policies. In Brussels, they will meet journalists and MEPs and will get guidance from the EP’s Media Services Unit for their future research.


Frequently asked questions on how to apply, costs and logistics

Who is eligible for the research tour? And how can I apply?

The research tour is open to journalists from all over Europe (country of primary residence).

To apply, please click on the red 'sign up' button above that will take you to the webform.

Please note that applications in any other language than English will not be accepted.

By submitting your application and upon its success, you agree that your name, associated media outlet, country of primary residence and email address will appear on the list shared with all participants if your application is successful. All data necessary to organise the tour will be shared with the Media Service Unit/Directorate-General for Communication of the European Parliament.

What languages will be spoken during the tour?

All presentations during the workshop will be in English, or otherwise live translated into English.

Are there any costs for tour participants?

Participation in the research tour is free of charge. Furthermore, all expenses incurred during the tour, including food, accommodation and local transportation will be covered by Clean Energy Wire. The Directorate-General for Communication of the European Parliament will cover the costs one hotel night in Brussels and the transport from Brussels to the home destination of each participant.

Journalists or editorial staff who have made an internal commitment not to accept free services from third parties, or who do not wish to participate in the research trip free of charge for other reasons, may pay for their own travel and share of accommodation and meals. Please contact us directly at

What about travel arrangements?

Selected participants will organise their own travel to Amsterdam, and back from Brussels independently, and will be reimbursed for their expenses after the event. Do not book anything before you get the confirmation that you can take part. When arranging travel, participants are kindly asked to consider climate-friendly modes of transportation where viable and reasonable. Please keep in mind the budgetary constraints of up to 400 euro return connection for economy class travel. Participants who would like to cover their expenses on their own (travel, food, accommodation) can get an invoice upon request after the tour.

The tour will most likely start on 3 March at 5.00 p.m. and will end on 6 March around 4 p.m. A more detailed programme will be published about one month prior to the start of the tour.

All successful applicants will be notified on how to claim reimbursement ahead of the tour. It is generally not possible to reimburse travel expenses in cash.

What are the deadlines?

Deadline for applications is 31 January 2024. 

Please make sure to have access to your email, and do check the spam folder. If your application has been successful you will receive a confirmation email from CLEW no later than 6 February. In this event, please confirm your participation by 12 pm CEST on 9 February. Otherwise your place will be offered to another applicant.

What if I need a visa?

If you require a letter of invitation for your visa application, please let us know by sending an email to Please make sure you have a visa appointment at your embassy or consulate well before the research tour begins to leave enough time for visa processing.

Note: we do not reimburse visa fees or insurance costs.

I get an error message saying I’m over the character limit, but I don’t think I am?

The character limit is specified in the boxes. Note that the limit includes paragraph breaks. If you have removed all paragraph breaks and are otherwise 100 percent certain that you are below the limit specified, try using a different internet server. For example, if you have previously tried submitting unsuccessfully via Google Chrome, try Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari.

I have submitted an application but have not received a confirmation of receipt.

Please check your spam folder for an automatically generated email which will ask you to confirm that you submitted an application successfully.

You will then hear from CLEW regarding the outcome of your application no later than 6 February 2024.

What are the rules of citation during the tour?

Interviews and public debates between journalists and speakers follow different rules and practices in different parts of the world. To make the context of our media trip clear for all involved, we would like to set out the following framework guiding the interaction with participating journalists:

Quotes and interviews

  • We work on the basis that statements made by participants can be quoted by the journalists present in their media reports. However, during this tour we will have more exceptions from this general rule, so please ask us or the speakers if you're are not sure.
  • If speakers do not want to be quoted, we ask them to inform participating journalists where this is the case. Remarks may then be made "off the record" and will not be quoted.
  • Outside Germany it is not common practice for journalists to seek authorisation for quotes before using them. If a speaker does require the participating journalists to check quotes with the speaker before publishing, we ask the speaker to advise journalists of this.

Photos, audio or video recordings

  • We respect journalists’ fundamental right not to disclose the sources of their research. Some of the participants also come from countries where press freedom is under threat and where journalists are prosecuted. As a safeguard to participants’ rights and their well-being, we kindly ask the speakers not to take any photos or to make any film or audio recordings on which participants can be individually identified without asking them beforehand.
  • If the speakers would like to take photos or record audio or video of our visit, they can approach a staff member for Clean Energy Wire so that we can agree on safe and workable solutions.
  • If there are restrictions to taking photos or to making audio or video recordings on the premises, we will inform participants.

Don't hesitate to get in contact with us at

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