On May 8, Slow Food Europe joined forces with over 30 civil society organizations and think tanks to call on the next European Commission President to put an EU food policy in place. In an open letter to the lead candidates for the presidency, the organizations – representing the sectors of farming, fisheries, environment, animal welfare, health, consumers, development, social justice, climate, and forestry- also called for a European Commission Vice-President to be made responsible for ensuring the transition to sustainable food systems.
With the EU elections taking place on May 23-26, the signatories highlighted the potential for an integrated food policy to remedy the democratic deficit in food systems and rebalance power. Slow Food Europe is certain that by shifting the focus from sectoral policies (e.g. agriculture, fisheries, health) to integrated food policy, a wider range of stakeholders can be involved in designing and assessing policies. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for the EU and its Member States to address the concerns of many citizens and is key to meet its commitments to protect people and the planet such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“The challenges are very high and we need to be ambitious to tackle them. We need to have a governance shift, and that is why we propose to have a European Commission Vice-President responsible for the sustainability of food systems. It would be an essential role to play in coordinating the efforts of the different departments impacting our food systems and in trying to challenge the balance of power and move the debate forward,” said Francesco Ajena from IPES-Food, who presented the idea of having a Common Food Policy in Europe at Slow Fish in Genoa.
The open letter is the informal coalition’s first action in the wake of IPES-Food’s February 2019 report, ‘Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU‘. Slow Food Europe has been a part of a three-year process of participatory research, which has put forward a detailed blueprint for reforming European food systems under a Common Food Policy, with 80 concrete reform proposals sequenced over the short-, medium- and long-term.
Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe