The development of the environmental nitrogen problem connected with agriculture in the European Union (EU) is described briefly. It is shown that the problem is related to recent segregation of animal and crop production, and specialisation and intensification on farms and in regions. A long-term solution can be found by re-allocation and re-integration of the main agricultural production systems. Production of vegetables, root and tuber crops can be integrated with animal production in mixed farming systems and should be located on the better soils of the EU. The good perspectives of mixed farming systems are illustrated by the favourable nitrogen balances of two designed prototypes where arable, dairy and sheep farming are integrated to a high degree. Besides, low input grazing systems for meat production can be combined with nature conservation and recreation in regions less suitable for arable farming. In principle, manure produced by pigs and poultry should be returned to the regions where their feed has been produced. It is postulated that animal welfare can be best guaranteed in an environmentally safe way if the animals are be given more living space and the pig and poultry production systems are distributed more evenly over the EU.