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PV 23/03/2022 - 18
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PV 24/03/2022 - 9.19
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Thursday, 24 March 2022 - Brussels
Need for an urgent EU action plan to ensure food security inside and outside the EU in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

European Parliament resolution of 24 March 2022 on the need for an urgent EU action plan to ensure food security inside and outside the EU in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (2022/2593(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia and Ukraine,

–  having regard to the statements on Ukraine by the European Parliament’s leaders of 16 and 24 February 2022,

–  having regard to the declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 24 February 2022 on the invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation,

–  having regard to the statement by the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission of 24 February 2022 on Russia’s unprecedented and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine,

–  having regard to the recent statements by the President of Ukraine and the President of the Commission on the situation in Ukraine,

–  having regard to the G7 statement of 24 February 2022,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 24 February 2022,

–  having regard to Article 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2022 on the Russian aggression against Ukraine(1),

–  having regard to the statement by the heads of state or government of the European Council of 10 March 2022 on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine,

–  having regard to the statement of the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting of 11 March 2022 on the invasion of Ukraine by armed forces of the Russian Federation,

–  having regard to the Versailles Declaration issued by the EU Heads of State or Government during the informal meeting held on 10 and 11 March 2022,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 November 2021 on the contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security in times of crisis (COM(2021)0689),

–  having regard to Rule 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas, in line with the UN Charter and the principles of international law, all states enjoy equal sovereignty and must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state;

B.  whereas the Russian Federation launched an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022;

C.  whereas food production and access to food should not be used as a geopolitical weapon;

D.  whereas the Council has adopted an initial series of sanctions against Russia, including targeted individual sanctions, economic and financial sanctions and trade restrictions, and continues to prepare further sanctions in close coordination with transatlantic allies and other like-minded international partners;

E.  whereas this situation and the legitimate sanctions imposed on Russia will lead to a significant cumulative disruption of global agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture markets, in addition to the COVID-19 crisis and recent significant input cost increases, particularly in relation to the grains and vegetable oil markets given that Ukraine and Russia account for approximately 30 % of world trade in wheat, 32 % of barley, 17 % of corn and over 50 % of sunflower seed oil and 20 % of sunflower seeds, and in terms of access to fertilisers and the inputs required for fertiliser production;

F.  whereas the Black Sea ports are among the civilian infrastructure damaged, resulting in a complete blockage of trade by sea and preventing exports of vital agricultural products to different regions, including the EU;

G.  whereas following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent sanctions, the Commission and Member States took several measures to counter the negative effects on EU agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture markets;

H.  whereas war on the ground in Ukraine is preventing the internal movement of goods, particularly food, feed and other agricultural products, and has also led to the suspension of oilseed crushing operations and the introduction of export licensing requirements for some crops, which has resulted in serious food scarcity in Ukraine, a lack of stocks available for shipping to other countries and the consequent and imminent risk of geopolitical instability;

I.  whereas the conflict has involved the targeting of critical agricultural infrastructure, including for transportation and storage, which is having significant regional impacts; whereas bombardment, shelling and cluster bombs in war situations damage agricultural land and maim those intending to return to work that land, rendering it unusable for years to come while demining is carried out and ordnance is detected and defused or destroyed;

J.  whereas the 2022 harvest in Ukraine cannot take place as farmers and agricultural workers have fled for their lives or are defending their country, and agricultural holdings are too severely damaged for this year’s production to take place as normal;

K.  whereas Ukraine accounts for 11 % of the world’s wheat market, 16 % of its barley, 15 % of its maize, 16 % of its rapeseed, 50 % of its sunflower seed oil, 9 % of trade in sunflower seeds and 61 % of its sunflower cake; whereas for Russia, these figures are 20 % (wheat), 16 % (barley), 2 % (maize), 3 % (rapeseed) and 20 % (sunflower cake);

L.  whereas Ukraine has become an important supplier to the EU, being the primary supplier of maize (on average 9.2 megatonnes – 57 % of supplies), rapeseed (2 megatonnes – 42 % of European imports by volume), sunflower seeds (0.1 megatonnes – 15 %) and sunflower cake (1.3 megatonnes – 47 % of imports), and to a lesser extent wheat (1 megatonne – 30 % of imports); whereas Russia is also, but to a lesser extent, an important supplier to the EU of wheat (0.5 megatonnes – 11 %), but mainly of rapeseed cake (0.2 megatonnes – 50 %), sunflower cake (0.9 megatonnes – 34 %) and sunflower seeds (0.3 megatonnes – 35 %);

M.  whereas even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, global agricultural markets saw a rise in prices, due partly to climate effects and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas rising energy prices in Europe are having a significant impact on the agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, with increased fertiliser prices and higher energy costs for farmers;

N.  whereas since the beginning of the conflict, there has been a sharp increase in world prices for agricultural products (between + 5 % and + 10 % depending on the product), bringing them closer to the prices of the 2007-2008 marketing year;

O.  whereas the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that the global supply gap that would result from a sudden and steep reduction in grain and sunflower seed exports by the two countries could push international food and feed prices well above their already elevated levels;

P.  whereas the EU not only imports wheat, but also exports it, especially to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, to which around 6 million tonnes of wheat are exported annually; whereas these countries rely, first of all, on Russia and Ukraine, and then on the EU;

Q.  whereas the objectives of the common fisheries policy and the common agricultural policy (CAP) include, among others, supplying the EU market with foods of high nutritional value, reducing the EU market’s dependence on food imports, and ensuring that food reaches consumers at reasonable prices; whereas the COVID-19 pandemic and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine have made it even more apparent that the EU needs to strengthen its food security and reduce its dependence on inputs imported from single or too few suppliers from outside the EU;

R.  whereas on 9 March 2022, the Commission held the first meeting of the newly established European Food Security Crisis Preparedness and Response Mechanism to discuss food security, the impact of the increases in energy and input prices and the impact of the war in Ukraine; whereas this mechanism aims to increase preparedness to crises by improving coordination and exchanging best practices;

S.  whereas the EU is heavily reliant on Russian fossil fuels; whereas some 90 % of the gas used in the EU is imported, with Russia providing 45 % of those imports at various levels to EU Member States in 2021; whereas Russia was also Europe’s largest supplier of oil at 27 %, more than three times the next largest (Norway); whereas this external dependence on energy directly affects agricultural production;

T.  whereas energy, input and food prices are all rising as a result of the conflict, meaning that more and more people will be at risk of poverty (in addition to the 97 million currently at risk); whereas social measures to help producers and consumers deal with these effects are therefore needed;

U.  whereas food security does not only mean the availability of food supplies, but also includes, according to the FAO, the right to food and the accessibility of healthy nutrition for all;

V.  whereas the impacts on food security of the unprovoked and unjustifiable Russian war of aggression have exacerbated the already severe situation caused by COVID-19, the exceptional droughts in the south of the EU, climate change and biodiversity loss; whereas this crisis has both direct and indirect effects on the agri- and aquatic food sectors;

W.  whereas the EU must not only become more independent in strategic areas such as defence or energy supply, but must also be able to ensure food security at all times by increasing resilience in sectors where the EU is highly dependent on imports; whereas the Ukraine crisis proves once again that food security cannot be taken for granted; whereas European food production should be considered as a strategic sector;

X.  whereas the EU is founded on the principles of solidarity and if the EU does not act now, it is the most vulnerable who will suffer the greatest consequences;

Y.  whereas this crisis has both direct and indirect effects on the agri- and aquatic food sectors, with its direct effects linked to the interruption of commercial exchanges with Russia and Ukraine, and its indirect effects linked to the volatility of prices and production costs;

Z.  whereas the increased price of energy, fuel, fertilisers, raw materials and agricultural products is having a major impact on the agri-food and aquatic food sectors, causing a severe increase in production costs, which is jeopardising production continuity and may lead to supply chain disruptions;

AA.  whereas Russia is Europe’s sixth-largest trade partner in terms of value of EU agri-food exports(2); whereas the trade disruptions and imposed sanctions will require mitigation measures, including the establishment of alternative markets for EU agricultural products;

AB.  whereas food crises can be provoked by speculation on food commodities;

AC.  whereas Russia is a leading exporter of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and its components, and Belarus is a significant exporter of potash-based fertilisers; whereas nitrogen fertiliser prices are heavily dependent on natural gas prices, a product for which Russia holds major market positions; whereas Russia announced a suspension of exports of mineral fertilisers on 4 March 2022 as a result of its invasion of Ukraine;

AD.  whereas in addition to the EU’s heavy dependence on imports of fertiliser from Russia, the EU’s reliance on imports of fossil-based energies for the production of fertiliser and on potash from Belarus will lead to a significant disruption in supply at a time when fertiliser prices have increased by 142 % over the last year and energy and fertilisers account for 20 % of farmers’ production costs(3); whereas gas accounts for 60 % to 80 % of the production costs of key nitrogen fertilisers(4); whereas high gas prices have already led to the temporary closure of some fertiliser industry facilities; whereas there are already cases where fertiliser companies have rejected orders from farmers due to the lack of raw materials;

AE.  whereas there are many fertiliser products derived from organic sources of nutrients and these products are currently not utilised as replacements for chemical fertilisers; whereas increasing their use could be a solution to reduce the EU’s dependence on chemical fertilisers in line with the objectives of the Green Deal; whereas the use of processed manure, biocharcoal and frass, in particular, could reduce fertiliser costs for farmers;

AF.  whereas the price of fuel has increased considerably in the EU, and has reached a historic high in many Member States; whereas continuation on this trajectory will lead to an unsustainable economic situation for farmers and fishers, such as fishing vessels finding it impossible to go to sea and earn more than the cost of fishing operations;

AG.  whereas the EU fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors provide high-quality seafood products, playing an important role in ensuring global food security; whereas the fisheries sector has long helped to provide European consumers with high-quality products that meet high nutrition and food safety standards, and is now among the global leaders in terms of sustainability;

AH.  whereas the proper functioning of the European single market is a precondition for ensuring food security; whereas the Hungarian Government has recently decided to ban all grain exports as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in violation both of its Treaty obligations and of EU solidarity;

AI.  whereas the impact on consumer food prices needs to be considered in the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which already contributed to price increases before the start of the war; whereas the cost of food in the EU was 4.7 % higher in January 2022 than in the same month of the previous year(5); whereas many Member States, and central and eastern European countries in particular, are facing even higher food price increases;

AJ.  whereas the depletion of animal feed stocks will have severe consequences for many breeding farms; whereas several Member States have signalled that, at current rates, they run the risk of exhausting stocks of animal feed by Easter;

AK.  whereas there are important synergies to be achieved and maintained beyond the current crisis, such as sustainable agricultural practices that enhance soil quality, thereby improving productivity and other ecosystem functions and services, including carbon sequestration and water quality regulation; whereas the way the EU produces and consumes food, beverages and other agricultural products should be consistent with EU policies and commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, to ensure a solid balance between the three pillars of sustainability;

AL.  whereas it is essential to address the problem of food waste at all stages of the supply chain in the short term in order to reduce pressure on the food supply in Europe, particularly as 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU each year, with associated costs estimated to be EUR 143 billion; whereas addressing food waste through measures to achieve the EU food waste reduction target of 30 % by 2025 and 50 % by 2030 compared to the 2014 baseline, as well as through measures to remove unnecessary legislative obstacles to the reprocessing of waste into organic fertilisers, would have an immediate positive impact on food security in the EU;

1.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression; demands that the Russian Federation immediately terminate all military activities in Ukraine, unconditionally withdraw all military and paramilitary forces and military equipment from across the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, cease blocking humanitarian corridors, and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders, in order to restore peace and thereby ensure that reconstruction of life-supporting economic, social, health and food systems can be begun in safety;

2.  Expresses its undivided solidarity with the people of Ukraine and its inconsolable grief about the tragic loss of life and human suffering caused by the Russian aggression and stresses that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as indiscriminate attacks, are prohibited under international humanitarian law;

3.  Welcomes the swift adoption of sanctions by the Council with the aim of persuading the Russian Federation to cease its attacks against Ukraine; insists, however, in light of the latest attacks, including those against residential areas and civilian infrastructure, on the need to adopt additional severe sanctions;

4.  Demands that the Russian Federation immediately stop shelling hospitals, kindergartens, schools, theatres, retirement homes and other civilian infrastructure; condemns such actions in the strongest possible terms and underlines that without an end to the indiscriminate attacks normal life cannot be rebuilt and the production of food resumed across Ukraine and its agricultural and fisheries areas, and can normality resume in the flow of food, products, and inputs essential for agricultural fisheries, aquaculture, and food production across borders, thereby overcoming transportation challenges in food exports and commodity production;

5.  Underlines the importance of restoring stability in Ukraine, so that its agricultural sector can recover and the country’s food security can be ensured; calls for the EU to make every effort, when it is possible, to support Ukraine’s agricultural production through the provision of seeds, fuel and fertilisers that are scarce;

6.  Calls for all efforts to be made to safeguard the upcoming sowing and production season in Ukraine in every way possible; underlines that humanitarian aid is needed to tackle immediate, life-threatening situations, such as the ones that Ukraine is now facing;

7.  Recalls that several Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea have been shut down, disrupting international trade of food, and calls on the Commission and Member States to enable safe transport and food corridors to and from Ukraine via alternative ports, as well as via railway and road transport;

8.  Underlines that countries located near the conflict area, those with fragile developing economies and those receiving the majority of Ukrainian refugees will be the most affected by the war in Ukraine; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support these countries and to ensure that enough food supplies are available;

9.  Expresses deep concern about the impact that the current disruption in agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture processes will have on food security for the people of Ukraine and urges the Commission and the international community to coordinate and provide all impacted regions and cities with a robust long-term humanitarian food aid programme, via all possible forums, such as the Committee on World Food Security, to make up for the lack of Ukrainian food production and the disruption of the food chain;

10.  Calls for an immediate and coordinated response and the deployment of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism to maximise support to Ukraine, especially in terms of humanitarian assistance and food aid, as well as by providing safe EU humanitarian corridors and offering food and shelter to all people fleeing the country; highlights that while EU financial humanitarian support has been estimated to amount to around EUR 500 million so far, further support is needed; stresses, notably, that the EU should provide humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people to ensure short-term food security in Ukraine, and to all refugees in the EU through the Cohesion’s Policy’s Action for Refugees in Europe and the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe programmes, as well as by contributing to the FAO Rapid Response Plan for Ukraine, increasing its financial assistance; highlights that additional funding must be found as Cohesion Policy funds play a primary role in ensuring the harmonised development of the EU Member States; calls on the EU to coordinate with UN agencies and all partners on the ground to provide urgent food and livelihood assistance to people affected by the war in Ukraine;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase their contributions to the World Food Programme by using the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve provided for in the multiannual financial framework; notes that the Commission and the Member States contribute EUR 465 million per year and EUR 1.47 billion per year respectively to the World Food Programme; notes, furthermore, that the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve accounts for EUR 1.2 billion, of which up to 35 % (EUR 420 million) can be used for non-EU countries; underlines that the amount available under the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve may not be sufficient and that additional budgetary flexibility may be needed;

12.  Underlines that the current conflict in Ukraine is shining a spotlight on the vulnerabilities of the global food system; therefore urges the EU to safeguard the rights of developing countries to food security, as a means of achieving nutritional security, poverty reduction and inclusive, sustainable and fair global supply chains and local regional markets, devoting particular attention to family farming, with the aim of securing the supply of affordable and accessible food;

13.  Believes that the EU, along with other international bodies, must not tolerate artificially inflated prices and must take action to prevent speculative behaviour that endangers food security or access to food for vulnerable countries and populations, by monitoring markets affecting the food system, including futures markets, to ensure full transparency, and by sharing reliable data and information on global food market developments;

14.  Calls on the Commission to identify and facilitate means to address the economic and social consequences of the Russian invasion, not least in the areas of agricultural fisheries and aquaculture production, in order to safeguard food security, by taking the necessary steps to protect EU agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture businesses with supportive measures in order to create both certainty and more guarantees to maintain and, where necessary, increase food production by European farmers and fishers;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage with the EU’s partners in the Middle East and North Africa to address food security; believes the EU should stand ready to assist these partners in organising an emergency food security conference to be led by them to address the short-term gap in food supply and the medium-term issue of agricultural resilience in the region;

16.  Notes that these attacks, alongside the interruption of trade for reasons of war, prevent essential resources, from energy and fertilisers, to essential chemicals and agricultural products, from reaching the EU; highlights that European citizens, food producers and consumers are therefore ready to share the burden of the war in solidarity with the heroic people of Ukraine;

17.  Stresses that the EU is the world’s biggest importer and exporter of agri- and aquatic food products; points out that in order to increase the long-term resilience of the EU’s agri- and aquatic food systems, the EU should undertake steps to decrease its dependency on third-country imports of energy, primary goods, chemicals and chemical products, and support technologies and practices that are less reliant on these inputs; highlights that short- and medium-term solutions to ensure food security include the diversification of supply from third countries, and calls on the Commission to examine possible supply sources that meet the EU’s international sustainability standards, and either enter into new bilateral agreements or strengthen existing ones;

18.  Calls on the Commission to anticipate potential Russian countersanctions that might affect the agri- and aquatic food sectors, such as those imposed in 2014, and identify and open new markets to redirect exports of food products;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to closely monitor the markets for agricultural and aquatic food products, paying particular attention to price speculations, while ensuring the integrity of the single market; calls specifically for monthly market analyses of the state of agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture markets by sector, covering prices, quantities and supply chains; welcomes the Commission’s use of the newly created permanent European Food Security Crisis Preparedness and Response Mechanism, bringing together experts, both public and private, in these sectors; calls on the Commission, however, to communicate the content of these discussions to Parliament, so that it can benefit from all the information needed to manage the crisis;

20.  Reiterates its previous calls for the significant reduction of energy dependence, in particular on Russian gas, oil and coal, by, inter alia, diversifying energy sources and increasing energy efficiency and the speed of the clean energy transition; underlines that the sanctions may have a specific impact on European households in terms of food prices and energy costs, and that they should not be expected to pay the price of this crisis unsupported; calls on the Member States, therefore, to prepare plans and support for households to address the cost of living crisis;

21.  Recalls that the dramatic increase in fertiliser prices, which is having a major impact on the agri-food sector as whole, predates the Russian invasion of Ukraine; stresses that these prices will continue to rise, as they are linked to natural gas prices; urges the Commission, therefore, to start lifting the anti-dumping duties on fertilisers produced in third countries; regrets, furthermore, the fact that the Commission did not mention the specific case of fertilisers in its communication of 8 March 2022 entitled ‘REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy’(6);

22.  Demands that the EU fundamentally reconsider its strategies for ensuring full independence from Russian supplies as regards its critical raw materials and stresses that there can be no return to business as usual; calls for supply chains to be rebuilt and for trade to be pursued in a manner that ensures independence from Russian supplies;

23.  Calls for the promotion and simplification of access to energy efficiency measures to reduce the cost burden on farmers and fishers in terms of direct energy inputs; notes that while there is enormous potential to produce renewable wind and solar energy on farms, substantial barriers and challenges still remain for small-scale renewables; calls on the Commission and national authorities to address the main barriers identified by farmers to producing renewable energy, namely complex permit and subsidy procedures, high investment costs, long payback times and limited access to credit;

24.  Stresses that an integral part of the EU action plan to ensure EU food security must be a strategy to increase EU energy independence from Russian supplies, including the complete abandonment of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 projects, while maintaining EU energy security;

25.  Calls on the Commission to assess the possibility and feasibility of mobilising additional financial support for the most affected sectors and to take urgent, targeted and temporary measures to help farmers cushion the effect of the severe increase in fertiliser prices;

26.  Notes that in order to reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers, alternative organic sources of nutrients and nutrient cycling should be utilised to the fullest extent as soon as possible; calls on the Commission to address legislative and practical barriers to the realisation of this solution in order to reduce the dependence on imports of fertilisers, first via a switch to organic fertilisers and then via further support for research and new innovations at EU level; calls on the Commission, in particular, to take the necessary measures, including legislative ones, to enhance the use of organic fertilising products obtained from sewage sludge, processed manure, biocharcoal and frass in order to substitute chemical fertilisers, in line with the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy;

27.  Stresses the interlinkages between sustainability and increased circularity in agriculture with the move away from dependence on fossil fuels, imported energy and chemical fertilisers and towards greener, renewable alternatives;

28.  Calls on the Commission to raise the limits for the application of nitrogen from animal manure, such as recovered nitrogen from manure, or RENURE, as an alternative to the use of chemical fertiliser, in line with fertiliser limits; calls on the Commission to consider both a temporary derogation to quickly reduce the cost of fertilisers and to work towards a long-term framework in order to enhance circularity on farms and decrease dependence on third-country resources;

29.  Calls on the Commission to give Member States the flexibility to temporarily allow agricultural production by farmers on Ecological Focus Areas, making use of plant protection products and fertilisers if necessary;

30.  Recognises, in view of the exceptional circumstances, the urgent need for temporary and reversible measures to step up EU production for the 2022 harvesting season in order to contribute to EU food security; calls on the Commission, in light of the need to overcome the immediate shortfall of protein crops, to accelerate the administrative procedures to make it possible during this CAP transition year to use fallow land for the production of these crops for human or animal consumption, without increasing dependence on inputs; calls, in this regard, for priority to be given to protein crops; invites the Commission to revaluate the situation in a timely manner and propose further adequate measures if necessary for 2023;

31.  Considers that shifts in planting regimes to provide more home-grown food and feed during the 2022 growing season in the EU should be assessed and further developed to enhance production systems and allow a planned evolution towards more autonomy in the medium and long term;

32.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that agricultural land is primarily used only for the purposes of producing food and feed to ensure food security not only for EU citizens, but also for millions of refugees in the EU;

33.  Stresses that a strong and sustainable agricultural sector across the EU and a thriving and sustainable rural environment, supported by a strong CAP, are vital components in meeting the food security challenge; underscores that agriculture has important value for the EU and its political and economic development and has a huge impact on society through food production, rural employment, the economic vitality and quality of life in rural areas and rural development more generally;

34.  Calls for the immediate implementation of the measures against market disturbance provided for in Article 219 of the Common Markets Organisation Regulation(7) in order to support the sectors most affected and, in parallel, for the mobilisation of the crisis reserve to this end; calls furthermore on the Commission to be prepared to take necessary further exceptional market measures under the regulation, such as activating Article 222;

35.  Urges the Commission to provide full clarity to the Member States as regards the force majeure clause in the CAP, as well as in further legislation;

36.  Considers that while increasing food security is now an even more urgent priority, national strategic plans should be assessed to make the necessary adaptations to the new circumstances, including the use of relevant flexibilities to increase the acreage of lands under production;

37.  Calls on the Commission to take all necessary measures, in particular with regard to State aid, to allow the necessary support to the sectors most affected by the crisis;

38.  Calls on the Commission to consider amending the State Aid Temporary Framework adopted in March 2020 in order to allow Member States to use full flexibility under the State aid rules to support the economy;

39.  Stresses that the extraordinary rural development COVID-19 measures should be extended to address the ongoing liquidity problems that put the viability of farming activities at risk and endanger the small businesses active in the processing, marketing or development of agricultural products;

40.  Believes that measures should be adopted to guarantee more flexibility for imports of crucial commodities (in particular cereals, soybeans and fertilisers) from non-EU countries, without undermining EU standards;

41.  Reiterates its commitments to sustainability and food safety and stresses that all imported food and feed needs to live up to the EU sustainability and food safety standards, including maximum residue levels of pesticides and antimicrobials; denounces all proposals to misuse the current crises to weaken these requirements and commitments;

42.  Calls on the Commission, in particular, to support sectoral organisations in order to secure new import markets that guarantee food supply and agricultural inputs, especially for livestock, and thereby avoid putting food security in Europe at risk;

43.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to urgently release the crisis reserve of EUR 479 million to aid the agricultural sector in coping with the current market challenges; notes, however, that this crisis reserve, once depleted, cannot be replenished with funding from the CAP; calls, therefore, for the immediate release of additional funds ready to be mobilised in the event of the crisis reserve being used up;

44.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the protein crop deficiency, to propose a comprehensive European protein strategy in order to increase European protein production and reduce the EU’s dependency on third countries in this regard;

45.  Stresses that, at the level of production, strengthened measures and incentives will be needed to build resilience, such as increasing circularity and self-sufficiency in inputs, while not undermining the productive capacity and competitiveness of EU agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as moving towards precision farming and developing and fast-tracking access to markets of alternative proteins, organic fertilisers, microbial protection of crops and agro-ecology, in line with the objectives of the Green Deal, and allowing, during this CAP transition year, for temporary and short-term flexibilities with conditionalities and derogations to be considered, and accelerating the administrative procedures to achieve these flexibilities, especially considering lack of investment, reduced liquidity and market uncertainty due to the current circumstances;

46.  Calls on the Commission to show flexibility regarding advance payments to producers and notes the need to secure the cash flows of farmers, and in this regard, calls on the Commission to increase the levels of advances on direct payments and area- and animal-related rural development measures from 50 % to 70 % for income support payments and from 75 % to 85 % for certain rural development payments;

47.  Calls on the Member States to implement measures and use available tools to strengthen their food supply chains; insists that measures taken must not compromise the integrity of the single market, nor undermine measures to increase resilience in the food supply chain across the EU, nor increase energy dependency on Russian resources;

48.  Calls on the Commission to apply exceptional measures, including private storage aid, for agricultural products facing market issues; notes its intention to make this aid available to the pigmeat sector; urges the Commission to create a mechanism that allows products from private storage to be accessed by non-governmental organisations and other bodies to help ensure food security in Ukraine; believes that this mechanism could also be used through the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived in Member States hosting refugees in order to meet the urgent need to provide additional food; believes, furthermore, that the fund can ensure that vulnerable people will not disproportionately suffer from the crisis;

49.  Underlines that measures should be adopted to avoid barriers to the free movement of goods, in particular with regard to the free circulation of crucial commodities such as cereals; insists that the proper functioning of the single market must be guaranteed with regard to agricultural products and that export bans to other Member States must be avoided; asks the Commission to be particularly vigilant in this regard and to take immediate action against Hungary’s imposition of an export ban on cereals;

50.  Draws attention to the need to monitor and enforce fair competition conditions in the single market with regard to unjustified price increases for certain food products; stresses the need to step up the monitoring of possible situations in which some companies may create a monopoly in the single market in the agri- and aquatic food sectors, and highlights the need to take measures to counteract any such developments without delay;

51.  Calls on the Commission to prepare a detailed action plan without delay to ensure the correct functioning of the EU’s food supply chains and ensure food security within the EU in the long term, taking into account the lessons learnt from the impact of the war in Ukraine and other possible disruptions and building on the lessons learnt from the contingency plan presented in November 2021, where applicable; calls on the Commission to address the weaknesses that an over-reliance on imports of energy, feed and fertilisers from single or too few suppliers and a lack of diversification of supply chains have exposed;

52.  Notes that this action plan represents an opportunity to accelerate the achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal, which will strengthen the robustness of EU food supply chains within a green circular economy and offer incentives to farmers, fishers and stakeholders along the food supply chain to move towards more sustainable, efficient and self-sufficient production methods and tools via the increased uptake of innovative tools, cultivation technologies and sustainable processes and practices, all of which will help to decrease the EU’s reliance on imported inputs, including by deploying short-term investments to scale up the uptake of technologies and practices aimed at meeting the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy;

53.  Reiterates that European strategic autonomy in food, feed and the agricultural sector overall must be reinforced, in line with the Green Deal objectives, which are designed to protect the EU’s environment and its agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture areas;

54.  Maintains that the objectives set out in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies must be analysed on the basis of a comprehensive impact assessment of European food security and of the situation in neighbouring countries, and insists that the Commission take these impact assessments into account; urges the Commission to take into account the impact assessments already published by internationally recognised research institutes in this context;

55.  Insists also that as a first priority all efforts must be made to ensure that no food shortages arise, notably in vulnerable regions, in order to avoid widespread geopolitical instability, and considers that contributing to global food security at this time is a moral duty and must not be considered a threat to the long-term aims and objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the wider Green Deal in the immediate moves to increase resilience and build self-sufficiency in relation to inputs; highlights that measures to increase the efficiency of input use and the availability of more sustainable alternatives and practices and measures to address food waste, as set out in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Green Deal, thus reducing reliance on inputs such as harmful plant protection products, and chemical fertilisers, are the building blocks for ensuring a robust EU agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture sector and food supply chain in the medium to long term;

56.  Recalls, moreover, that legislative proposals derived from the objectives and targets of the Farm to Fork Strategy must first undergo comprehensive impact assessments, while taking into account the potential consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for European and global food security, and that the co-legislators’ responsibility will be, while implementing the roadmaps leading to the Farm to Fork targets, to set the conditions to avoid declines in agricultural, fisheries, or aquaculture production levels in Europe, or emission leakages; highlights that in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the further strain on EU agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture food chains, the urgency of studying all these impacts has increased, potential impacts on food security have to be carefully assessed, and a comprehensive study on the dependence of the EU’s food system on inputs and their sources should also be commissioned;

57.  Considers that in light of the current market circumstances, the ambition of a 10 % reduction in production areas cannot be implemented;

58.  Recognises that the disruption of the trade patterns that existed prior to the invasion shows that the EU must urgently consider how to develop more autonomous agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture systems producing food and feed in the long term, reducing the EU’s dependence on imports and increasing domestic production; stresses that this is particularly pressing for the products most at risk of shortages because of the suspension of Ukrainian exports, such as cereals, oilseeds, protein crops and fertilisers;

59.  Expresses great concern at the steep increase in operating costs sustained by the fisheries sector; points out that many vessels across the EU are currently moored, as the first-sale fish prices do not cover the increased production costs;

60.  Considers that the European fishing sector is key for European food security and regrets that its situation has deteriorated significantly during this crisis because of rapidly increasing global prices on important commodities for the sector and, in particular, the volatile fuel prices, which have made fishing operations no longer economically viable; believes that this situation requires urgent assistance, including direct support; points out that this assistance must ensure continued operations of EU fishing fleets and by extension the continuation of operations further along the supply chain of fisheries and aquaculture products; calls on the Commission and the Member States to acknowledge the difficulties faced by the fishing sector and properly address it in upcoming actions; notes that in order to address the increase in fuel prices in the long term, it is important to stimulate the development and use of energy-efficient innovations;

61.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will be operational as soon as possible and asks the Commission to urgently table a proposal to allow for emergency aid to be possible under the fund in times of crisis as well, such as the war in Ukraine; urges the mobilisation of any remaining funds from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and strongly urges the Commission and Member States to accelerate the implementation of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve in order to ensure that support reaches Brexit-affected areas faster;

62.  Urges the Commission to propose emergency measures to support fisheries, aquaculture and the whole value chain (processing, retail, etc.) in the EU; requests, in this context, that emergency measures include: compensation for operators for their income foregone and additional costs, support for the temporary cessation of fishing activities and support for producer organisations and the whole seafood value chain for the temporary storage of fishery and aquaculture products through the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, an increase in the year-to-year quota flexibility from 10 % to 25 %, an increase in the State aid limit to up to EUR 500 000 per vessel under the de minimis framework and inclusion of fisheries and aquaculture in the Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures; calls on the Commission and the Member States to put in place all available instruments of the common fisheries policy to stabilise the markets;

63.  Notes that measures across the entire food supply chain should be considered to ensure that all stakeholders play a role in bolstering the resilience of the agri- and aquatic food sectors and that these measures must contribute to the goals and objectives of the EU transition to climate neutrality by 2050; considers that in line with the rapid implementation of the Unfair Trading Practices Directive(8), particular focus should be placed on the viability of farming, fishing and aquaculture, and on the significant role of retailers in determining fair returns to producers, particularly in light of the pressures arising from the increased cost of inputs, but in equal measure, their responsibility to ensure that food remains affordable and accessible for consumers;

64.  Calls on the Commission to act to ensure that State aid provisions for agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, including de minimis provisions, allow Member States to grant rapid and flexible support to operators in order to compensate for the increased costs related to the war in Ukraine; highlights in this regard that Member States, within their national framework, should also consider assistance such as reducing social security contributions, suspending or reducing certain taxes and extending COVID-19 loans; calls on the Commission to ensure that State aid does not lead to the distortion of competition and that a level playing field between Member States is guaranteed;

65.  Calls for reinforced action at international level to ensure that policy decision-making has food security at its core, in order to avoid scarcity and ensure nutritional security in the most vulnerable countries, giving priority to food uses of agricultural products and preventing obstacles to the international trade in food;

66.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to swiftly propose a meeting of the FAO Committee on World Food Security, which should be the favoured coordination forum on the matter, as it ensures the inclusive representation of all states; calls on the Commission and the Member States to engage in this forum to ensure international coordination, notably on stocks, biofuels and financial support to importer countries;

67.  Believes that significant shifts in market and export models, as well as serious contingency planning, could also be needed, such as autonomy in EU feed production, alternative outlets for exports, enhanced reactive capacity, strategic stocks of basic food, feed and other food products, autonomy in fertilisers and replacement products, and clear information on global transport patterns for agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture products;

68.  Calls for the acceleration and strengthening of actions to reduce food waste to maximise food availability and the use of the resources within the EU to improve food autonomy; stresses the need to avoid loss of food during storage and in all stages of the supply chain, to facilitate the donation of food through the coherent implementation of liability law, to encourage the recovery of food waste and to develop alternative options for retailers, including reduced price promotions and working with local community projects tackling local food poverty and insecurity; calls on the Member States to establish and implement food waste prevention programmes, and to consider legislating on practices that create food waste in addition to those already covered by the Unfair Trading Practices Directive; calls for the initiatives on marketing standards to prioritise the reduction of food waste; calls for improved monitoring of food waste at all levels in the EU; recalls that short food supply chains lower the risk of generating food waste;

69.  Highlights the importance of addressing the problem of food waste at all stages of the chain in the short term in order to reduce pressure on the food supply in Europe through measures to achieve an EU food waste reduction target of 30 % by 2025 and 50 % by 2030 compared with the 2014 baseline(9);

70.  Calls on all Member States to implement food waste prevention programmes, stressing the urgency of reducing food waste and highlighting that the focus should be on the prevention of food waste and food loss, as averting food loss amid food supply shortages may contribute to consolidating food security;

71.  Calls for measures to tackle the poverty caused by rapidly rising energy prices and the impact of the conflict on food prices, and considers that social measures must form part of the necessary actions;

72.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0052.
(2) European Commission, ‘Agri-Food Trade Statistical Factsheet: European Union - Russia’, 2021.
(3) Eurostat price index for agricultural means of production (Q3 2020 to Q3 2021).
(4) Fertilizers Europe, ‘Policy Priorities– Industry competitiveness – Energy cost’, Fertilizers Europe, accessed 16 March 2022.
(5) Eurostat, Food price monitoring tool, 2022.
(6) COM(2022)0108.
(7) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671.
(8) OJ L 111, 25.4.2019, p. 59.
(9) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0425.

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