Time to put a Common Food Policy on the menu - op ed from Olivier De Schutter and Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini
(02.02.2017) IPES-Food co-chair Olivier De Schutter joined forces with Slow Food president Carlo Petrini today to call for a Common Food Policy for the EU, as the European Commission opened the public debate on CAP reform.
In an op ed published in Politico, De Schutter and Petrini argued: "Rather than focusing on what subsidies go to which farmers, the EU should be thinking much bigger. Ambitious reform of food and farming systems can help address some of the bloc’s most pressing problems."
Recalling Europe's deep unemployment, environmental and public health crises, the two experts called for the EU to raise its ambitions.
They warned: "As long as the discussion centers around agricultural policy — designed to serve agricultural priorities, shaped by the interests of agricultural lobbies and ultimately decided by agriculture ministers and committees — the broader social and environmental objectives will always remain peripheral."
The solution, they argued, is a Common Food Policy bringing together a variety of imperatives under one roof - from local food procurement to national fiscal regimes and EU policy frameworks - and aligning them on the same goal of delivering sustainable food systems.
"Sustainable food systems can underpin a new economic vision, one in which creative solutions are provided to long-term problems, in which a circular economy and green jobs are more than just rhetoric, and in which the costs of supporting decent jobs and public health are weighed up against the price of inaction. European democracy can be re-energized by giving people a say in the things they most care about. We can start with what they put on their plates", they concluded.
The full op ed is accessible here.
De Schutter and Petrini's call for a Common Food Policy builds on a three-year process of research and reflection launched by IPES-Food in 2016: 'Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU'.
The process is centered on a series of six Policy Labs in order to co-develop a food policy vision with policy-makers, civil society and farming groups, and food industry actors. Policy Lab 2, held in December 2016, focused on creating healthier food environments (briefing note coming soon). Policy Lab 3 on Alternative Food Systems will take place on March 29 at the European Parliament.