The Council would help address the many crises currently affecting food systems and anticipate future challenges that will arise with the accession of Ukraine to the EU.

The European Union's food system is currently facing multiple crises as it tackles environmental, climate, health and social challenges. The prospect of Ukraine's future accession also raises issues and is expected to require a CAP reform. To best face these changes, the EESC is proposing the creation of a European Food Policy Council (EFPC), ahead of the forthcoming Framework for Sustainable Food Systems.

The EFPC can help accelerate the convergence of EU, national and local policies. Most importantly, it can help improve EU food policy. The rapporteur for the opinion, Piroska Kállay, said: "We strongly believe that inclusiveness and dialogue among various food system stakeholders and authorities will increase the quality and legitimacy of food policy-making and that a European Food Policy Council is a tool to achieve a more integrated, participatory and democratic approach to food governance".

The EESC is prepared to host the EFPC and would like to see it modelled on the very successful European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, which it co-owns with the Commission.

The EFPC would promote sustainable and balanced development of both rural and urban areas. It would include academics, scientists, representatives from the food supply chain, civil society organisations, educators, youth representatives and EU policy-makers. Over time, it would also include representatives from local, regional and national authorities, ensuring an equal participation of Member State representatives at EU level. (ks)