The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted the opinion From Farm to Fork: a sustainable food strategy at its September Plenary session, following the European Commission's communication on the Farm to Fork Strategy - for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. As an integral part of the European Green Deal, this is the first EU strategy claiming to encompass the entirety of the food chain.
The COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating the geostrategic nature of the agri-food sector and the need to maintain food self-sufficiency in the EU. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) therefore welcomes the new measure proposed by the European Commission to support farms and agri-food SMEs experiencing liquidity problems and to ensure their economic survival during this crisis. However, the EESC thinks that the European Commission should set up a special fund outside of the common agricultural policy budget to implement it.
On 19 February 2020, Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski met Maurizio Reale, the president of the EESC’s NAT section to explore possibilities for cooperation.
At its plenary session on 20 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the instigators of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Eat Original. Unmask Your Food”, which calls on the European Commission to impose mandatory origin labelling for all food products in order to prevent fraud and guarantee consumers' right to information.
One year after the European Commission had launched its updated European Bio-economy Strategy, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) together with the Commission and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) organised an event on European Bio-economy: Regions, Cities and Civil Society on October 16th 2019, in Brussels.
Farming can only be continued if our natural resources are preserved, warns EESC
The EU needs to put greater emphasis on short supply chains and agroecology in farming in order to preserve its agriculture and make it more resilient to new challenges, such as climate change. Agroecology is also a way to secure our food supply, make our food healthier and as such raise its value. Short supply chains will help smaller farms to increase their income and enliven rural areas.
Farmers' contribution to food security and keeping rural areas alive needs to be better rewarded. Farm profitability and economic viability is a serious issue in the EU, where farmers' incomes on average amount to just 46.5% of those in other economic sectors.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes a fully-funded, strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is essential and rejects any cuts to the CAP budget. The EESC welcomes the legislative proposals on the CAP, with the new focus on increased environmental and climate change ambition, subsidiarity and simplification.
While welcoming the greater freedom the new proposals on subsidiarity would give individual Member States, the EESC is keen to ensure that the CAP remains a common policy with a strong single market.
A strong CAP policy, with a strong CAP budget based on the European Model of Agriculture an Food production, supporting an economically socially and environmentally sustainable European agriculture policy and farming sector involving the highest standards, and contributing to ensuring a competitive agricultural sector, is very important for the European Union and all its citizens.
On 5 April, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)'s NAT section invited supporters and opponents of the European Citizens' Initiative calling for a ban on glyphosate to debate in its premises. A million supporters from at least 7 member states are needed in order for the Commission to consider taking action about this substance along the demands of the ECI. After two months the initiative has already collected over 640,000 signatures. The ECI includes three requests: firstly, a ban on glyphosate, secondly, a reform of the pesticide approval procedure, and thirdly, setting EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.