Italy is known for la dolce vita, so it is the ideal setting for a conference on the quality of life. The European Parliament held its latest ReACT conference in Rome, one of five held throughout Europe on different themes ahead of the May 2014 European Elections. The conference took place in Cinecittà, the legendary cinema studios on 23 January. Health, sustainability and food were on the menu of the day for the experts and other interested people attending the event.
Sustainability: "Resources are limited but needs are always growing"
"The biggest changes in the world happened in the last 50 years, but we cannot live in a world pretending that resources are endless," said geologist and event moderator Mario Tozzi at the beginning of the discussion.
Professor Riccardo Valentini, a climate expert, pointed out that"40% of the land in the world is used for agriculture, but that in 2050, 8 out of 10 people will live in cities: "Who will work the land?"
Food: "We are what we eat"
Health and sustainability go together for Italian chef and TV star Carlo Cracco. "Out of every ten things we buy, we eat only seven. We have to learn how to buy our food!" And he said we should also need to start thinking what we eat. This should already be taught at school.
Cracco thinks that people should take great interest in what they buy. But it is of course, easier said than done and that is where proper labelling comes in. "Shoppers have the right to know what they eat: that's why labelling is such an important thing," he said, adding that good wholesome food starts with getting good-quality ingredients.
Health: "No man is an island, we have to take care of each other"
English poet John Donne first wrote it; Hugh Grant said it in the film "About a boy" and TV journalist and health expert Michele Mirabella, one of the three speakers of ReACT Rome event, repeated it, speaking about health in Europe today: "No man is an island, we have to take care of each other".
"Tobacco, counterfeit medicines, access to health... We need more European directives to protect all European citizens, and even more than that: we should protect all human beings," he added.
The Rome event was the fourth ReACT event. The first ReACT event took place in Paris and focused on employment; the second was in Warsaw and dealt with the EU’s role in the world, the third was in Frankfurt and was focused on Mmney The economy will be discussed on 20 February in Madrid in the last ReACT conference. The conference are organised by the EP, bring together experts and ordinary people in debates that touch on the most important challenges that the EU is facing at the moment.