As Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine is putting global food supply at risk and European consumers are already experiencing a rise of food prices, many believe that Europe's food system could be made more resilient against crisis by investing on sustainable local quality production and shortening supply chains. The European Committee of the Regions is currently preparing an opinion on
Safeguarding food security and reinforcing the resilience of the EU food system. Members of the
discussed this highly relevant topic in the external meeting held in Santiago de Compostela on 2 June.
(PL/EPP), rapporteur of the upcoming CoR opinion and President of
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region, pointed out that hundreds of millions of people
across the world risk facing hunger because of Russia's aggression. In many
parts of the world the situation is made worse by climate-related hazards,
such as the current drought in India.
"This war is not only about tanks and cannons. Today, food is used as a
silent but powerful weapon in the ongoing war. Disrupted supply chains, the
issue of food exports and rising prices will lead to the global fear,
migration and a hunger crisis. Together, we are doing everything we can to
ensure the food security and increase the resilience of food systems in the
European Union and Ukraine. We strongly support Ukraine’s membership
application to the EU", Mr Całbecki said.
The NAT Commission's shadow-rapporteur Christophe Clergeau (FR/PES), Member of the
Pays-de-la-Loire Regional Council, regretted that the European Commission
"underrates the vulnerability of food supply chains subject to climatic
hazards, geopolitical instabilities and health crises". Therefore, he's
urging for a profound reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy towards
a model that encourages relocation of production, reduces environmental
impact and guarantees fair income to farmers. "The specialization of
agricultural regions accentuates the distance between production and
consumption, which reinforces vulnerabilities, weakens food security and
harms natural resources", he argued.
The deputy director-general of European Commission's DG AGRI Michael Niejahr expressed his support for reinforcing
local supply chains, while insisting that "it should not happen at the cost
of free trade and markets". He stressed that the objectives of the Green
Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy must be pursued and underlined that the
Commission is working to explore different routes for Ukrainian exports, to
facilitate Ukrainian exports to the EU and to support the agriculture
Galicia's regional minister for Rural Affairs, José González Vázquez, pointed out that the crises of
recent years have reinforced the conviction about the importance of having
a powerful and locally-based primary sector and revitalising rural areas.
The Government's initiative has already helped to recover more than 5000
hectares of unused agricultural land for production, while respecting the
requirements of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy.
Mr Vázquez and the NAT Commission chair Ulrika Landergren
(SV/Renew Europe) also welcomed the
Council conclusions on the 8th report on Cohesion
that were adopted on the same day. The municipal councillor of Kungsbacka
underlined that territorial cohesion in Europe is only possible if
sufficient attention is paid to the needs of rural areas and to urban-rural
connectivity. "We need to define concrete targets and indicators and use
all available funds to ensure that no region is left behind. It is equally
important to strengthen the involvement of the local level in the design
and implementation of the Rural Pact", Ms Landergren said.
Another topic of discussion with DG AGRI's Deputy Director General focused
around geographical indications, which will be subject of an upcoming
opinion drafted by Karine Gloanec-Maurin (FR/PES), Deputy
Mayor delegate of Couëtron au Perche. The rapporteur emphasised that
geographical indications contribute to the quality of agricultural products
and to the preservation of biodiversity, landscape and territorial
The day in Santiago de Compostela finished with a tree-planting ceremony as
part of the
Trees for Life
initiative, which is taking place currently around the
European Green Week. The CoR supports the initiative which aims at planting 3 billion
additional trees in Europe's cities, towns and villages, in order to
increase biodiversity and fight against climate change.