Brussels, 21 March 2023 When EU leaders gather in Brussels for the European Council this week, they will discuss the “increasingly complex challenges” facing Europe’s business community, such as climate change, geopolitical instability, energy prices, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and an innovation gap.
The EU has recently announced several initiatives, including the Green Deal Industrial Plan, to enhance its competitiveness and resilience in the face of these challenges.
However, FoodDrinkEurope, the organisation for the European food and drink industry, is concerned that the agri-food sector has been largely ignored in the EU’s latest plans, despite its crucial role in the EU economy and its potential to contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal.
That’s why FoodDrinkEurope has written to EU President Von der Leyen, President Metsola, and the Swedish EU Presidency, urging them to establish an EU Food Investment and Resilience Plan that would ensure Europe’s long-term food security and international competitiveness while reducing carbon emissions to net zero.
“If the US is supporting its agri-food sector by investing $20 billion in climate-smart regenerative agriculture through its Inflation Reduction Act [on top of the US Farm Bill], the EU must follow suit if it’s serious about its net zero ambitions. Besides new investment, we also need to look at easier access to technology and innovation (e.g. to facilitate circularity), new trade opportunities and making EU food regulations less complex and more coherent to facilitate a competitive, sustainable transition”, FoodDrinkEurope’s Director General, Dirk Jacobs, said.
He added: “We cannot afford to let the food sector wither on the vine. It’s time for the EU to take bold action and invest in the future of Europe’s food before it’s too late. Let’s ensure that Europe’s agri-food sector continues to be a global leader, not a laggard.”
Without additional support, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy is at risk of becoming an empty vessel, and the food sector will be the primary casualty. Therefore, FoodDrinkEurope calls for a concerted effort to invest in and build resilience in the agri-food sector, ensuring that it remains a critical component of Europe’s economy and a leader in sustainable food production.