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Parliamentary questions
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14 September 2020
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003825/2020

The EU needs to explore innovative ways to make agriculture more sustainable for the environment and for societies. To this end, the potential contribution of any technologies, including biotechnologies, to a more sustainable and resilient agriculture should be assessed, provided they are safe for consumers and the environment.

This is the responsibility of all actors in the agri-food chain as well as regulators. In particular, the Commission considers that advances brought by biotechnology should be considered whenever they bring real added value to the whole of society and contribute to achieving the objectives set out in the European Green Deal.

The Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies(1) set out the path towards sustainable and resilient food systems in 2030. A sustainable food system must ensure sufficient and varied supply of safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food to people at all times, not least in times of crisis.

The Common Agricultural Policy will strongly support farmers to adopt sustainable production practices and address new consumer demands. The Farm to Fork Strategy also announces the establishment of a European contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security to be put into place in times of crisis.

Prices of food are an important signal for consumers. It is therefore important that prices of different foods reflect their environmental and societal costs. While fiscal policies are to a large extent a matter of national competence, for some elements, EU regulation exists, such as on VAT rates.

The Commission has put forward a proposal(2), currently under discussion in Council, which could allow Member States to make more targeted use of rates, for instance to support the demand for fruit and vegetables.

(1) COM(2020) 381 final and COM(2020) 380 final.
(2)COM(2018) 20 final.
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