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Abstract

Due to the growing importance of sustainable socioeconomic development at a national level, this paper makes an attempt to identify and assess the relationships between agriculture and the environment in European Union countries in light of input–output tables. To meet that objective, data was retrieved from input-output tables and European environmental accounts. The analysis covered material input and output to/from agriculture, pollutant emissions and biomass production and consumption. European Union countries are witnessing a growing share of sphere I agribusiness (mainly including services, the fuel and energy sector and the chemical industry) in material input to agriculture. While this reflects production modernization efforts, it involves a greater environmental burden. EU countries are reporting a decline in direct material input and the domestic consumption of agricultural biomass per euro of GDP. These changes are indicative of less intensive use of environmental resources (dematerialization of the economy), which is consistent with the assumptions of sustainable development. To summarize, it may be concluded that countries at higher levels of agricultural development are meeting the environmental objectives of sustainable development to a greater extent than countries at lower levels of socioeconomic development.

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