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.
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.
The condition of the European economy, completing the Single Market, trade and Brexit – these are the top issues for European employers' organisations in the forthcoming months. On 29 March 2017, the Directors-General and Secretaries-General of BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and Copa-Cogega presented their priorities and debated with the members of the EESC Employers' Group.
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.
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.
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.
The COPA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations) Women's Committee has launched its 4th European Innovation Award for women farmers. This year's title is Women farmers as drivers of innovation and green growth in the European Union.
Five winners, coming from Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden were selected. In rewarding them, the EESC also wishes to acknowledge the contribution made by so many other committed women in rural areas.
European industry needs an environment conducive to innovative activity. We must strengthen investment in innovation and foster business dynamism. Investment is needed not only in scientific R&D but also in areas that are becoming key features of corporate success, such as design, software, data, firm-specific skills and marketing. These are some of the ideas that emerged from the conference on the Reindustrialisation of Europe: Food Manufacturing, Innovation and Circular Economy, which took place on 27 October in Milan. The event was hosted by the Employers' Group, together with Coldiretti and Confindustria.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Increased transparency and legal certainty should go hand in hand with a reduction in red tape for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations. A simplified CAP needs to be implemented as soon as possible and farmers should be provided with necessary information and education-based support. For the EESC, it is particularly important to look into the consistency of current requirements, including their impact on the environment, food safety, food availability and job creation.
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.