The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) has been the main framework for relations between the continents of Europe and Africa since 2007. Its goal is to develop a shared vision of the main global issues whilst simultaneously strengthening cooperation in a broad range of areas such as development, governance, human rights, trade, regional integration, food security and migration. To this end, meetings of EU-African economic and social stakeholders are held on a regular basis.
On 9 November 2016 the EESC and CoR organised a conference on balanced territorial development entitled "Cork+20: leaving rural areas behind is no longer an option". At stake was the European Commission's new rural development strategy, which would normally have to be inspired by the new Cork 2.0 Declaration that has been co-signed by stakeholders at the Cork conference on 5-6 September 2016.
Now is the time to put the Cork 2.0 Declaration into action.
The EESC opinion is the organized civil society's contribution to the follow-up of the Conference. At the public hearing on 3 May we discussed concrete actions for implementing the measures of the declaration. The trend towards a systematic prioritarization of urban areas across the whole set of EU sectoral policies must be reversed!
The EESC hearing on 14 February 2017 was an opportunity for all people who were interested in rural issues to meet, present work in progress and exchange ideas and knowledge – and get inspired by examples of successful projects and initiatives in other rural communities. Together we thought of better ways to empower the rural communities to play their full part in addressing vital policy areas such as food security, renewable energy, environmental protection and job creation.
The first Cork Declaration, adopted on 9 November 1996, forthrightly requested "a fairer balance" of public spending and investments between rural and urban areas. In the new Cork 2.0 Declaration adopted on 6 September 2016, there is only one concrete proposal with the potential to have a meaningful impact: the so called "rural proofing" whose aim would be to "systematically review other macro and sectorial policies through a rural lens".
This hearing on the CAP post-2020 was organised jointly by the Agriculture and Forestry Committee of the Finnish Parliament and the NAT section of the EESC. The 2013 reform of the CAP is currently being implemented and the CAP simplification exercise is also underway. The EESC wants to be proactive in preparing for the next reform of the CAP which relates to the period after 2020. It was of utmost importance to make an in-depth analysis of the current CAP and the result of the previous reform.
The agro-food supply chain connects important and diverse sectors of the European economy that are essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and to the detriment of primary producers. The position of the most vulnerable actors, such as farmers, should therefore be addressed, in particular by ensuring that prices that allow the farmer to make a fair profit are paid throughout the agro-food supply chain and by putting an end to unfair trading practices.
This public hearing will discuss the current state of multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture. After the Nairobi agreement of export competition, some progress could be made on the areas of market access (tariffs and quotas) and, to some extent, on domestic support.
The EESC has received a request from the incoming Dutch EU Presidency for an exploratory opinion on how to achieve more sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental, economic and social impact of unsustainable food chains. Globally, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food is also one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures. The hearing will represent an opportunity to hear from experts and stakeholders about their views and initiatives for a transition to more sustainable food systems in Europe. The discussion will take a holistic and systemic approach by considering the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability and the importance of cross-sectoral co-operation across the food supply chain.
Which policies for access to land and natural resources, and which agricultural policies, may bring about production models which create jobs and add value without destroying natural resources?
In preparation for the World Forum on Access to Land and Natural Resources, the CESE, AGTER, and CERAI invite you to join them for a day of discussions about Land grabbing and land concentration in Europe on November 16th, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, Belgium, 2 rue Van Maerlant, Bruxelles 1040, (Salle VM3). This European Land Access Day Conference is part of a series of regional conferences in preparation of the World Forum on Access to Land 2016, which is intended to be a ten-year follow-up to the World Forum on Agrarian Reform (Valencia, 2004) and the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Porto Alegre, 2006).
This thematic seminar on "the reindustrialisation of Europe: agriculture – food manufacturing, distribution and commerce " will take place in two location: Milan and Bergamo on the 26 and 27 October 2015 in cooperation with the Italian organizations Confcommercio, Confindustria and Coldiretti.
On the 26 October, the first session in Milan will focus on reindustrialisation in relation to international trade and on the 27 October, the second session in Bergamo will focus more on industrial and innovation aspects.
This seminar will also be an opportunity to discuss the Circular economy and new technologies, as well as novel and greening technologies in agriculture. Participants will include: representatives of the Government, the Chamber of Commerce, academics, business representatives as well as 40 Members of the Employers' Group.