The long-anticipated vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Proposal is due to take place at the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) of the European Parliament tomorrow. However, this vote and its possible outcome create more questions than answers for civil society groups and Members of Parliament alike.
Slow Food Europe has been among organizations calling on EU decision-makers for a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform that is ambitious and leads a real transition towards a sustainable food system. Even though the institutional agreement on the new CAP will most probably be concluded by the new European Parliament, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) of the current Parliament can still play a role in shaping the CAP proposal, and with its vote in April, can give the newly elected policy-makers strong indications of which direction the new CAP should take. At the same time, the Council of the EU is carrying the CAP file forward, and the Romanian presidency expects to have a provisional agreement among the Member States in June, by the end of its presidency.
Days ahead the Agriculture and Fisheries (AGRIFISH) Council meeting in Brussels, Slow Food Europe and other five civil society organizations urge European ministers of agriculture to increase the environmental ambition of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and not to “further weaken the Commission’s proposal.”
Slow Food Europe has joined over 65 civil society organizations and networks calling for the removal of the “innovation principle” from Horizon Europe program for 2021-2028 which will replace the current Horizon 2020. In a joint statement, organizations urge the Council of the European Union which convenes today for the final negotiations of the legislative package for Horizon Europe to act now and remove all references to this principle.
Shortly before the Council of the European Union announces its position on the Horizon Europe research and innovation program, Slow Food Europe urges decision-makers to support an amendment, asking to leave the precautionary principle as the default (and only) principle in the new Horizon program. Slow Food Europe is among the organizations raising concerns over the so-called ‘innovation principle’ which has been included in the new program. This principle, coined by industry lobbyist groups in 2013 at the European Risk Forum, could undermine EU laws on chemicals, novel foods, pesticides, and research concerning genetically modified organisms (GMO) and new breeding technologies (NBTs). The European Commission’s Horizon Europe program for 2021-2028 will replace the current Horizon 2020.
Just days before the EU trade ministers decide whether to give the mandate to the European Commission to reopen formal negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, Slow Food Europe joins a group of organizations to urge decision-makers to uphold the Paris Agreement and not mandate new trade negotiations with the United States.
500,000 citizens of the European Union have signed the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) “End the Cage Age” launched in September last year. This marks the halfway point in the campaign. Slow Food is among 140 organizations strongly involved in supporting the ECI, which aims to end the use of cages for farm animals across the continent.
Slow Food Europe believes food-related issues should have been more broadly addressed in the European Commission’s Reflection Paper on a Sustainable Europe by 2030 since food can be a way to help achieve each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. Meanwhile, in a public debate held at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on February 12, civil society groups criticized the European Commission for portraying the European Union as a frontrunner in sustainable development. The Reflection Paper, published at the end of January, focuses on the key policy foundations for the transition towards a sustainable Europe, including the aim of correcting the imbalances in our food system.