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European Union food system

10-09-2020

The European Union (EU) food system is a complex and integrated structure of sectors whose governance is ensured by various EU sectoral policies. Its strengths and weaknesses became evident during the coronavirus crisis: food supplies were assured but the pandemic also revealed where action is needed to avoid disruptions threatening food supply. The recent launch of the EU 'Farm to Fork' strategy provides a first attempt at a common EU food policy, outlining the way forward for all food-related sectors ...

The European Union (EU) food system is a complex and integrated structure of sectors whose governance is ensured by various EU sectoral policies. Its strengths and weaknesses became evident during the coronavirus crisis: food supplies were assured but the pandemic also revealed where action is needed to avoid disruptions threatening food supply. The recent launch of the EU 'Farm to Fork' strategy provides a first attempt at a common EU food policy, outlining the way forward for all food-related sectors. It aims to bring sustainability to the heart of each step of the food chain and constitutes a framework for any further plans. This Briefing sets out the progress to date towards an EU food system and the issues posed by the current coronavirus crisis. The table at the end of the text explores a range of ongoing or potential initiatives for a sustainable EU food system in the future.

'Farm to Fork' strategy: Striving for healthy and sustainable food

17-06-2020

Launched on 20 May 2020, the 'Farm to Fork' strategy put forward the EU’s ambition for making its food system a model of sustainability at all stages of the food value chain. Ahead of the desired engagement of institutions, stakeholders and citizens in a broad debate, the strategy is already high on the agri-food community’s agenda.

Launched on 20 May 2020, the 'Farm to Fork' strategy put forward the EU’s ambition for making its food system a model of sustainability at all stages of the food value chain. Ahead of the desired engagement of institutions, stakeholders and citizens in a broad debate, the strategy is already high on the agri-food community’s agenda.

Food trade and food security in the coronavirus pandemic

26-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a global public health crisis, but it has had a significant effect on the global economy and international trade. Measures to deal with the consequences of the pandemic while also affecting food trade have impacted on the world's food systems and have raised concerns for global food security. The EU is committed to keeping trade flowing and supply chains functioning, and supports international cooperation to promote food security.

The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a global public health crisis, but it has had a significant effect on the global economy and international trade. Measures to deal with the consequences of the pandemic while also affecting food trade have impacted on the world's food systems and have raised concerns for global food security. The EU is committed to keeping trade flowing and supply chains functioning, and supports international cooperation to promote food security.

Protecting the EU agri-food supply chain in the face of COVID-19

02-04-2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's ...

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's objectives. This system relies on about 10 million farms, several hundred thousand food and beverage processing companies, thousands of businesses manufacturing agricultural inputs or handling packaging, transport, storage and distribution, as well as wholesalers, markets and other retailers. When the functioning of any one sector of the food chain is hindered, the whole chain can be disrupted. For instance, as highlighted by sectoral stakeholders and then addressed by EU-level measures, recent national restrictions have contributed to problems such as blocked transport routes, long queues at border checks for commodity transport, and shortages of seasonal farm workers who can no longer move freely from one Member State to another. Specific schemes have been set up at EU level as a lifeline to farms and companies from the agri-food sectors that have been the hardest hit and are in greatest need of support. The European Parliament voted the first emergency measures to combat COVID-19 at an extraordinary plenary meeting on 26 March. Members of the Parliament's Agricultural and Rural Development Committee have put forward proposals on further measures. There has also been an overhaul of EU farm policy rules as a first step to address the emergency at EU level. How these rules will evolve further depends on the concerted efforts of all parties concerned: stakeholders, the EU and national policy-makers. Unified action at EU level is also required to complete the legislative process for the adoption of the 2021-2027 long-term EU budget and future EU farm policy, discussion of which has slowed down due to the crisis.

Information package on ‘Innovation in Agriculture’ Public Hearing of 18 February 2020

18-02-2020

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

'From Farm to Fork' strategy on sustainable food

20-01-2020

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

Megatrends in the agri-food sector: global overview and possible policy response from an EU perspective

16-09-2019

This study provides an analysis of the megatrends that influence the way the world produces, distributes and consumes food. It provides an outlook of the global production needed to sustain human populations until 2050, gives a state of play of the global forces affecting the future of the food chain, suggests possible scenarios and presents policy and recommendation options.

This study provides an analysis of the megatrends that influence the way the world produces, distributes and consumes food. It provides an outlook of the global production needed to sustain human populations until 2050, gives a state of play of the global forces affecting the future of the food chain, suggests possible scenarios and presents policy and recommendation options.

Autor externo

Ines Ferreira, Maria Kirova, Francesco Montanari, Consuelo Montfort, Juan Moroni, Rik Neirynck, Monica Pesce

Unfair trading practices in the food supply chain

06-05-2019

The food supply chain ensures that food and drink products are delivered to the public. It affects all consumers in the EU. The final price paid by the consumer is impacted by the number of participants in the food supply chain. While the single market has brought benefits to operators in the supply chain through more market opportunities and a larger customer base, it has also brought challenges. Structural changes have occurred, leading to different levels of bargaining power and imbalances between ...

The food supply chain ensures that food and drink products are delivered to the public. It affects all consumers in the EU. The final price paid by the consumer is impacted by the number of participants in the food supply chain. While the single market has brought benefits to operators in the supply chain through more market opportunities and a larger customer base, it has also brought challenges. Structural changes have occurred, leading to different levels of bargaining power and imbalances between actors in the chain. The abuse of such differences may lead to unfair trading practices. To strengthen the position of smaller operators (farmers) in the food supply chain, in April 2018 the European Commission proposed a new directive on unfair trading practices. Trilogue discussions began in October 2018 after a successful vote in plenary. The final agreed text was adopted by both Parliament and Council at first reading, and signed on 17 April. Member States must now incorporate its provisions into national law, and apply them by 1 November 2021.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, April II 2019

18-04-2019

Highlights of the April II plenary session (the last of the current legislature) included debates on the conclusions of the April 2019 European Council meeting on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, and the final debate in the series on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Kisjanis Karins. Important debates also took place on the rule of law in Romania; failure to adopt an EU digital services tax; protecting the European elections against international cybersecurity ...

Highlights of the April II plenary session (the last of the current legislature) included debates on the conclusions of the April 2019 European Council meeting on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, and the final debate in the series on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Kisjanis Karins. Important debates also took place on the rule of law in Romania; failure to adopt an EU digital services tax; protecting the European elections against international cybersecurity threats; and on the possible extradition of Julian Assange. Members debated a number of external relations situations: in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe after cyclone Idai; in Libya; in Sudan; and US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. The legislative proposals adopted included those on collective investment funds, banking reform, prudential requirements, covered bonds, CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, and promoting clean, energy-efficient vehicles. Members voted on a number of legislative proposals (see below), including a partial agreement on the Horizon Europe programme.

Food chain risk assessment transparency

10-04-2019

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting ...

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting Parliament's final approval at first reading during the April II plenary session.

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