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Maarten Meijer

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Personal profile

Research interests

What are soils, and how do they matter to the European project? European policy-makers are struggling with these questions following concerns with soil degradation. The European Commission estimates that soil degradation, defined as the loss of soil functionality, results in annual costs of €38 billion – roughly equalling a third of the total EU-budget. In response, the EU has taken steps to intensify research and Europeanize soil monitoring, launched the Soil Thematic Framework, and is engaging with societal stakeholders and the general public. Consequently, the EU has become soil-bound, both in the sense of exploring its attachments to soils and tentatively moving towards a soil-sustainable future.

Soil degradation is a novel concern for the EU, soil-policies traditionally being a national prerogative. Moreover, soil degradation affects a broad variety of societal interests ranging from food and health to infrastructure and urban-planning. The soil-politics responding to these concerns takes place in the assemblage of scientists, policy-makers, and nongovernmental stakeholders as they collectively re-construct EU-soils entanglement. Studying this constellation enables my project to contribute to the Planet Politics-debate, that seeks to understand international politics through its interconnectedness with the Earth’s ecological systems. Moreover, the EU’s soil-politics enables an understanding of the transformations of the European project through its engagement with soils. What is the relation emerging between the EU and soils in the wake of contemporary concerns with soil degradation?

Education/Academic qualification

Osaka University

University of Groningen

University of Groningen

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