Green Deal, food labelling controversy and cultured meat

Your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU.

Welcome to the first edition of EURACTIV’s AgriFood Brief, your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU. You can subscribe here if you haven’t done yet.

The European Parliament has had its first say on the new Commission’s flagship environmental policy, The New Green Deal, calling for mandatory reduction targets for hazardous pesticides and food waste. Although non-binding, the resolution voted in Strasburg on Wednesday gives us a sneak peek on what the main points of contention will be in the forthcoming months. Read more here.
There’s an audio version of this brief, you can listen to it below.

News from the week

 

  • Nutri-score labelling controversy
    MEPs spoke out yesterday against a “fake news campaign” put in place by the Italian agri-food sector about the nutrition label known as Nutri-score. The MEPs want the nutrition label to be mandatory at the EU level and be embedded in the Farm 2 Fork Strategy. Gerardo Fortuna has the story.
  • New Farm Bill in the UK 
    The UK government has introduced new legislation which ensures that farming subsidies will continue to be paid to UK farmers for 2020. Read more here
  • Could Germany impose a tax on meat? 
    Lower Saxony’s conservative agriculture minister, Barbara Otte-Kinast (CDU), has again raised the issue of introducing a meat tax, which is something animal welfare activists have been demanding for years. Read more here.
  • Cultured meat could be on the EU market ‘as early as 2022’
    After UK environmentalist George Monbiot’s controversial “Apocalypse Cow” documentary recently suggested that we may soon see the end of all farming, EURACTIV took a look at cultured meat to see what it is and where we’re at with it in Europe.
  • EU to ban the neonicotinoid pesticide thiacloprid
    The European Commission decided on Monday (13 January) not to renew the approval of a neonicotinoid pesticide called thiacloprid, following scientific advice by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the substance presents health and environmental concerns. Natasha Foote has the story.
  • Trade Commissioner Hogan in the US to discuss agrifood trade 
    On Tuesday, EU Commissioner for trade, Phil Hogan, started his four-day visit to the US with the aim to prevent Trump administration from putting punitive tariffs on EU agri-food products. However, foodstuff exports to the US have actually been on the rise as a side-result of tariff’s announcement itself.

Quote of the Week

The European Green Deal will accelerate and underpin the transition in all sectors. Agriculture, the agri-food industry and forestry will play a decisive role in delivering this transition”

EU Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski in his address to the Agri Committee of the Croatian Parliament

Agrifood news from around Europe

 

FRANCE
Despite setting out bold aims to reduce the use of pesticides by 50% by 2025, France has seen a large increase in sales of plant protection products in 2018. Cécile Barbière has the story at EURACTIV.fr

GERMANY
This weekend, Berlin will be hosting both the International Green Week and a large agriculture protest, known as ‘Wir haben es satt’ (We are sick of it). This demonstration is fuelled by discontent with government policies and the agriculture industry. (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)

UK 
Edwin Poots has been named as Northern Ireland’s new Agriculture Minister at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). His role in agriculture is likely to come under increased scrutiny as farmers face uncertainty over subsidies and trade post-Brexit.
(Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)

ITALY
Italy’s Apulia region failed to meet the deadline for spending EU rural development fund for the programming period 2014-2020. Farmers from the so-called ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot, renowned for its wine, olive oil and durum wheat, may lose out on up to €142 million in CAP subsidies due to delays in programming and red tape.  (Gerardo Fortuna | EURACTIV.com)

SPAIN
Low prices given to Spanish producers continue to be the main point of contention and difficulties for Spanish farmers. Olive oil producers have been particularly affected and, despite the fact that Brussels has opened three tenders for private storage, these have not yet led to an improvement in the situation. (EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

GREECE
Greek winemakers are worried about the possibility of US tariffs on EU wine. In a statement, they said such a scenario would be catastrophic for the Greek wine as exports to the US market have been crucial in the last 5 years. The value of Greek wine exports amounted to €12.4 million in 2017 (up 49% from 2012) while sales volume increased by 15% over the same period
(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)

POLAND
According to the data by General Veterinary Inspectorate released this week, there were over 200 cases of African Swine Fever in Poland in the last three weeks of 2019, and the total number of swine fever cases increased in 2019 compared with 2018. (Łukasz Gadzała | EURACTIV.pl)

BULGARIA
The Bulgarian Food industry warns of a rise in the price of all food products in 2020 due to the introduction of new tolls for the transport sector. The National Union of Bakers and Pastry Makers has announced that bread producers expect tolls would have a serious impact on prices. A week ago, the government agreed to decrease significantly the tolls, but only for the first three months of the year.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

ROMANIA
Young farmers could benefit, for the first time, from access to agricultural land owned by the Romanian state, agriculture minister Adrian Oros said Sunday, in a news conference.
(Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

CROATIA
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that encouraging small family farms and young farmers will be in the focus of Croatian presidency regarding the new CAP and EU Multiannual Financial Framework negotiations. (Karla Juničić | EURACTIV.hr)

On our radar this week

  • Romania’s minister for agriculture met the French ambassador to Bucharest to discuss the two countries’ positions on the next CAP and the Romanian-French partnership.
  • A new geographical indications database has been created by the Commission which now centralises all terms protected by geographical indications.
  • The next AGRI Committee meeting will be held on the 22 – 23 January, where they will discuss the priorities of the Croatian Presidency with the Croatian Minister of Agriculture.

Upcoming events 

  • Global Food Forum in Berlin
    16 -18 January- International conference on agri-food policy issues. See here for more information.
  • Euro Coop roundtable
    23 January – “Ethically sound supply chains: a consumer co-operative perspective” together with the Greens/EFA. See here for more information.
  • Agrifish Council
    27 January
  • Reinventing Agricultural and Food Policy
    30 January – The European United Left/Nordic Green Left, which will focus on proposals for the CAP reform that support sustainability. See here for more details.

Sneak Peek

For a sneak peek of the news coming your way soon, be sure to look out for EURACTIV’s special report on bioeconomy, which is in collaboration with other members of the EURACTIV network and will be translated into 7 languages. The first story will be published on the 20th January.

On the 23rd January, there will be an Agrifood Twitter Chat about how the CAP can respond to climate change.

Watch out as well for coverage of the European Land Owners event, which will explore innovative agricultural solutions for making the EU climate positive.

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