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Rural development is a horizontal issue that affects practically all policy areas.
The EESC welcomes the Cork 2.0 Declaration that offers strong ongoing support for a rural policy at EU level. The EESC sees itself as a natural partner when it comes to implementing the declaration, and requests that the Commission continue producing progress reports on said implementation.
Rural regions in the EU are not homogeneous and situations vary between and within Member States. These differences mean there is a need for focus and a strategic approach when using available EU funds. This must be based most importantly on initiatives from those living in rural areas.
In the framework of this opinion a hearing (Agricultural machinery and construction and handling equipment: what is the best way out of the crisis?) was organized in Bologna, Italy, on 11 November 2010.
Up to 50% of food gets wasted in EU households, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain each year, while 79 million EU citizens live beneath the poverty line and 16 million depend on food aid from charitable institutions. The proposed own-initiative opinion should give impetus to draw up at the European level a coordinated strategy, combining EU-wide and national measures, to improve the efficiency of food supply and consumption chains and to tackle food wastage as a matter of urgency.