September 19, under the High Patronage of the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, Slow Food and ARC2020 will be presenting the European Parliament with requests from civil society for a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that supports family farms, reinvests public money into public goods and rejects food speculation. At the conference, President Schulz will be joined by Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development; Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food International; and representatives of other key European civil society organizations who are involved in the CAP reform debate. Citizens who have taken part in the Good Food March will also have an opportunity to pose their questions to their MEPs.
The current CAP represents the largest single spending of the EU: about 43% of the total expense, or 55 billion Euros per year. These investments, however, have not always had a positive impact: 80% of EU contributions are directed towards just 20% of farmers, and 70% of our plant and animal biodiversity has been irreversibly lost. An estimated 250 million people—50% of the whole European population—are overweight, while 42 million are facing malnutrition due to poverty. Furthermore, 90 million tons of food, or 180 kg per person, are thrown away each year.
The direction of the European food and agricultural policy until 2020 is currently being discussed in Brussels. For the first time in its 50 year history, the future of the CAP will be co-decided by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The new involvement of the Parliament gives civil society a real chance to make its voice heard.
“It is necessary to return dignity to farming” says Petrini. “At the moment only 11 million people are working in agriculture, less than 5% of the European population. It is an issue that is crucial to the food security of 27 countries and a question that cannot be left in the hands of a few multinational corporations”. Petrini concludes with a warning: “The CAP needs to change if we want agriculture to be a viable option for young people, an economic driver for rural communities and an element of safeguard for landscapes and the environment.”
Participants of the Good Food March, an initiative of ARC2020, the European Coordination Via Campesina, the European Milk Board, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU Group, Meine Landwirtschaft, PAC2013 and Slow Food, will also be taking part in the conference. More than 100 organizations from 19 countries and thousands more citizens, farmers and young people will come together in Brussels for a day of action calling for a more just and sustainable CAP. Many are currently making their way to Brussels by bike, with three routes making up the final leg of the march: the first from Strasbourg, through France, Luxemburg and Belgium; the second from Calais; the third from Groningen, through the Dutch plains and the Flanders.
Stephanie Roth, Campaign Coordinator at ARC2020 states: “The Good Food March has seen people from all ages and backgrounds come together from the north, south, east and west of Europe to define the tradition, heritage and future of food and farming in Europe. It has shown the spirit of people from villages and cities across Europe, embraced the diversity of our food culture and demonstrated the vitality of our countryside. At the same time it has sent a strong and unified message to decision makers as they debate and decide over the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). We must bring democracy back to the CAP.”
To learn more about the motions that will be put forward in Brussels please click here: http://bit.ly/POtkT1.
For further information on the conference contact:
Slow Food Press Office: Paola Nano – Tel. +39 329 83 21 285 – [email protected]
ARC2020 Communications Office: Kate Mann – Tel. +32 48 84 87 141 – [email protected]