The A Team television series is long gone, but one if its memorable quotes is still valid.

John ‘Hannibal’ Smith would rally the team, saying ‘there is a plan for everything and I love it when a plan comes together’. The coming together is often more down to good luck than good judgement. But the farm protests in Europe were perfectly timed, not for their direct impact, but for how they have influenced politics in the run up the European parliament elections in June.

Whether by luck or design the result has been to bring a new focus onto farming issues and to change the EU approach of green issues as drivers of policy.

For farmers across the major EU member states blockading roads a hated piece of green legislation was the Nature Restoration directive. This is about reversing some changes that have made land more productive. It was only approved by the European parliament last year by the narrowest of narrow majorities.

For the European Commission, back then, a win was a win. It had the backing of the parliament and member states to press ahead with legislation that the farming lobby and farmers saw as unfair because it would undermine productivity and competitiveness. As the present European Commission comes to the end of its term this was to be one of the crowning achievements of its Green Deal policies to achieve a net zero carbon position by 2050.

Now, instead, its flagship legislation is in trouble and this is when luck met opportunity for the farming lobby.

The nature restoration legislation is in trouble because at least eight member states, which had previously backed it unanimously, have now said they cannot support the legislation in its present form. With no time left to change the planned directive it is hard to see it going forward.

The reason for this change of heart has less to do with a change of minds than raw politics and concerns that the European parliament elections will see a surge in support for far right parties. This is turn could lead to a challenging environment for the EU for the next five years. The political drive now is to head off growing opposition to the ‘Brussels knows best’ approach that has driven policy for decades.

The commitment to achieving net zero remains, but there is a switch in approach towards farmers, the food industry and rural communities being seen as a key part of the solution rather than the source of the problem. This is a massive shift against green lobby groups, which for too long have almost exclusively had the ear of the European Commission.

There has been no wholesale scrapping of legislation; the unrealistic policy of a third of land being organic by 2030 stands and the official position of the EU is still the need to reduce carbon to tackle climate change. However the mood music is very different. The Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has been sending out a message that action on climate change is needed by farmers, because they are feeling its impact.

That is a sound argument farmers can relate to a carrot rather than a stick approach. She refers to the transition to a new approach that will involve farmers and has assured them financial support will be available to them as partners in the transition. This is a big change and it is mirrored in new plans coming from Brussels for a different approach to rural areas. It wants to curb an exodus of young people by ensuring communities have the resources needed to make them more attractive places to live and work.

Much of this has been said before, but a worsening urban/rural divide has stung Brussels into fresh thinking.

There has been a shift as a result of the protests and the threat from far right anti-EU parties, not just in the European parliament but in national legislatures. These groups are masters at sowing dissent with the establishment to reap electoral success and that goes against the foundations of the EU as a means to unite European countries against global threats. For farmers a plan has certainly come together to deliver a more rational debate on how agriculture can be at the centre of climate change mitigation policies.

That debate continues, but it has a new maturity we can only envy as ill-conceived green thinking continues to dominate the politics of food and farming here.