There is a hands off feeling about the approach to agriculture in the UK.

This is not about leaving farmers to do what they do best, but instead reflects a lack of interest from politicians. They have bought into green aspirations and are sticking to them, even as the EU and others alter their focus to reflect the more uncertain times we live in. Food security is back up the European agenda, but the UK philosophy is still to take this for granted and rely on imports if there are problems.

It is hard to think of a time when the economic problems of farming attracted so little political attention at Westminster. We have had the occasional attempts to look vaguely interested, via a show-piece event in Downing Street, but everyone involved knew this was just political spin and window dressing.

This contrasts with the position in the EU, where concern about the future of agriculture does seem genuine. The farming lobby, helped by farm protests that have resurfaced in the run up to the European parliament elections, have achieved a level of buy-in that is a tribute to the lobbying power of COPA, the umbrella body for farm unions. This success includes support from the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.

The result has been a new drive to firm up the economic base of agriculture in Europe.

EU farm ministers have taken this on board, with the farm commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, pressing the case for more action to boost the resilience of agriculture and the European food supply chain. This comes with the inevitable nod to green issues and climate change, but the core policy is about an urgent review of the European food security crisis preparedness management plan.

Given what is happening globally, particularly in Ukraine and the Middle East, Brussels says the importance of this ‘cannot be overstated’. This is from a 27 member state bloc that apart from a reliance on protein imports is more self reliant in terms of food supply than others, not least the UK.

It has instead for years allowed food security to be swapped for green dreams when it comes to priorities for its farming industry.

The EU debate is about what it and member state governments need to do. It is about preparing for a crisis, while at the same time encouraging sensible risk management.

Its message is that this is a case of when, not if. The EU claims its CAP policies help manage risk from disease and extreme weather conditions, but this new emphasis on preparation for a crisis in food moves this up a gear at a crucial time.

It is an old-fashioned view of priorities, but there is still logic in the view that the first duty of any government is protection of a nation’s food supply against war or natural disasters. As the present UK government heads into a general election it would be interesting to know if it, or the party most likely to form the next government, accepts that philosophy.

The Brussels view is that crises driven by outside events, including extreme weather, will become more common in the years ahead. It says the goal must be to use the CAP to ‘build resilience’ at market and individual farmer level.

At the same time it is warning that its pockets are not sufficiently deep to mitigate or compensate for all risk.

But it is at least alive to the issue and sees farmers as an essential part of the solution. This is not about Brussels moving away from its green agenda, but it is about it accepting there are bigger issues in play and that robust policies are essential around the strategic importance of the food supply chain.

This is also reflected in the demands of the European farming lobby that aspiring MEPs commit, in advance of the European parliament elections, to agriculture being officially viewed by the EU as a strategic national asset.

It is always easy to write off what is said in Brussels as fine words without real substance. But with European parliament elections that begin this weekend likely to bring a shift to the right there is a new pragmatism around about the strategic importance of agriculture and food. The Damascus road conversion may not be perfect, but it is more than the UK is likely to see, whether the next government is Conservative or Labour.