Some in Europe believe democracy is best delivered by voting again and again until what they perceive to be the right answer is delivered.

This is close to happening over a piece of legislation that was a big driver in the farm protests earlier this year. The hated by many farmers nature restoration legislation would overturn many of the changes to land that have made agriculture more productive.

This was only approved by the European parliament last year by the narrowest of majorities, thanks to some MEPs voting against their political groupings or abstaining. But for Brussels, which sees this as flagship legislation, numbers did not matter – a yes was a yes and a sufficient basis to press ahead with legislation. Member states initially went along with this, to the delight of the green lobby across the EU.

But then came the farm protests, with their message that when it comes to land management Brussels and green groups do not necessarily know best. To be implemented this legislation needs the support of the European Commission, parliament and member states. In the wake of farmer criticism key member states began to withdraw their support, leaving the legislation stalled and unlikely to be implemented in its present, radical form.

This has frustrated Brussels, which is continuing to press member states to restore their support. The green lobby has carried out a survey – limited in scope and rigour – in six of the member states that have withdrawn their support. They claim this shows 75% of people in those countries want the legislation introduced, regardless of what their government says. This issue has become a litmus test of where power lies.

It is a battle between urban and rural and between food security in Europe from productive agriculture and those opposed to modern farming techniques. More crucially it is a test of the entire basis of the EU as a grouping of sovereign countries capable of making their own decisions and not simply being told what to do by Brussels.

Time will tell where this goes, but the safe bet for now is that this legislation will not be implemented before the end of the term of the present Commission. While it will remain in place until October it will effectively be a lame duck after the European parliament election results in June.

These will potentially be the most interesting elections in Europe for a long time. They will almost certainly see groups elected that oppose the present EU model. Some will be from the far right, but others will be united in demands that the power balance shifts back to member states and from the group-think EU approach. Some of the drivers in this debate are the same as those that drove Brexit, although no member state is likely to follow the UK out of the EU.

This confirms that the farm protests touched a very raw political nerve. Defeat of the nature respiration legislation would be a huge victory for the farming lobby. Ironically one of the countries pressing for full and immediate implementation is Ireland, whose dairy farmers in particular are set to lose out badly. Its green party environment minister is acting as a rallying voice for EU environment ministers seeking implementation.

But the politics now being played out are well beyond the pay grade of a single minister in a difficult coalition government in Ireland, soon set to face an election. When the European parliament votes are counted next month that will be the real decider of whether the power base in Europe has moved to the right and back towards member states. This would weaken the green thinking that has frustrated farmers for many years.

Mark the days after June 9 for proof that we do indeed ‘live in interesting times’.

Another result from the farm protests is that the European Commission has agreed a review of how the CAP operates. This is less about principles than finding ways to streamline the policy to reduce the red tape burden and add greater flexibility.

If that happens it will be another big win from the protests, and the odds of it happening look good. This contrasts with the post-Brexit position here, where as we approach eight years from the vote government policy towards agriculture is still built around the green EU policies on 2016.

Brussels is easing away from these, but the UK has stuck to them despite promising Brexit would deliver a new future for agriculture.