A New Strategic Agenda: Will the EU Turn its Promises into Actions?

The leaders of the European Union have adopted a new Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, where the main priorities for the upcoming years were set. Slow Food Europe is pleased to see that climate change and the sustainable future of Europe were brought into the Strategic Agenda as one of the key topics for the next five-year framework. However, the eight-page document did not go into detail on how “a climate neutral, green, fair and social Europe” will be built.  

It is evident that EU leaders needed to respond to citizens’ pressure and alarming figures on the effects of climate change and grim forecasts. However, promises to have policies “consistent with the Paris Agreement” are empty without detailing the policies that will be put in place to achieve an “in-depth transformation of our own economy and society.” To Slow Food Europe, an obvious and key transformation that must take place is that of our food system, which can only be achieved through holistic and integrated food policy. It is commendable that the new Strategic Agenda recognizes that the EU must continue “to promote sustainable agriculture, which is vital to guaranteeing food safety and fostering quality production.” However, EU leaders and the European Commission must be well aware that the one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. With the current agricultural model, which supports industrial farming, Europe will not be able to meet its commitments to the Paris Agreement and provide its citizens with healthy and fair food at the same time. The Strategic Agenda adopted by EU leaders underlines that the EU must lead the way to achieve climate neutrality, but these promises sound vague as 28 Member States fell short of signing up to a goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU Summit in Brussels.

Slow Food Europe welcomes EU leaders’ commitment to “lead efforts to fight the loss of biodiversity and preserve environmental systems.” A recently released United Nations report revealed alarming results of the “unprecedented” and “accelerating” decline in global biodiversity. However, Slow Food Europe is concerned that the EU’s commitment to fighting the loss of biodiversity will remain on paper only. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform is set to continue supporting intensive agriculture, which is a major driver for biodiversity loss. The same conclusions have been reached by the EU Auditors, in their recent opinion stating that the new CAP proposal is “not appropriate for addressing many environmental concerns.”

Slow Food Europe hopes that the EU’s Strategic Agenda will not just pay lip service to climate change, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity loss but will find a strong response to the alarming threats to the environment and instead of favoring powerful industry lobby groups will support the interests of Europeans.

Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe

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