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POLITICS

De Castro: Promotion, Cancer Plan, Geographical Indications and labeling

WineNews discussed the priorities and challenges of the Agriculture Commission during the French EU Presidency semester

“Relaunch, power, belonging” is the motto that summarizes the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in office from January 1st to June 30, 2022. “Relaunch”, that is, to allow Europe to support ecological and digital transitions; “Power”, to defend and promote our values ​​and interests, and “Belonging”, to build and develop a shared European vision through culture, our values ​​and our common history. These six months will be full of challenges regarding wine and agriculture as well. First, there will be the vote in plenary to pass the final text of the BECA (special committee on beating cancer) Commission’s “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan”, in relation to the future of promotion, then food labeling, and the new regulation for Geographical Indications, where Julien Denormandie, French Minister of Agriculture and Food, has presented his program, as Paolo De Castro, Socialists & Democrats Coordinator of the Commission Agriculture at the European Parliament, told WineNews.

“Four of the most urgent legislative dossiers of the BECA Commission, are on the table, whose recommendations caused quite a sensation, though they are not binding. However, we are working to guarantee that there will not be an intolerable unification between alcohol use and abuse, because the difference - between conscious consumption and excess - must instead be highlighted. In the worst-case scenario, our amendments will not have the necessary votes to be approved, and the BECA report pass as is. The immediate impact - as we have mentioned several times – would be that recommendations will not be significant, but, obviously, the Commission could accept these indications in the future, and put them into practice in future legislative acts. Before reaching this point, however, we need to follow a series of steps up to the Parliament and the European Council, along which we will continue to assert our reasons. At the plenary in February, we will present an amendment supported by the three main groups (PPE, S&D and RENEW, ed.), hoping that it will find wide agreement in Strasbourg, with which we would like to introduce the concept of “harmful consumption” which distinguishes use from abuse ”, explained De Castro.

“Another important topic is that which concerns the Geographical Indications. This new regulation is a legislative act in preparation, so we are close to the legislative proposal, and rumors about it are very bad. When it arrives, probably between March and April, a negotiation will begin in Parliament and the Council. We will then see how to correct it or, perhaps, return it to sender, especially because, when something works, it must be reinforced and strengthened, there is no need to distort it. It is a very important legislative issue ”, underlined the S&D Coordinator of the Agriculture Commission.

“The reform of the promotion of European agro-food products in third countries is equally important. We want to strengthen it, avoiding introducing restrictions on alcohol and meat, as has been feared. We will continue our battle, and the Agriculture Ministers will have to do the same, but we are concerned, first of all because a cut in resources is always in sight. It is no coincidence that we wanted to anticipate some rules on wine during the CAP reform, and we have included them in the CMO. In so doing, we have secured the sector, and it will be difficult to change what has not yet gone into effect. There is a good chance that nothing will change in the short term. After that, if the attacks continue, we will have to be very good at continuing to defend ourselves, working and creating a positive climate, continuing to fight as a Mediterranean culture to distinguish use from abuse, and talking about food education. Furthermore, in this context”, Paolo De Castro added, “another hot topic is Nutriscore, about which many people are opening their eyes. Including the French, who must deal with their own internal equilibrium, and therefore with the group of RENEW's Macronist parliamentarians, who represent the core of French environmentalism”.

Speaking of environment and agriculture, the theme of economic sustainability in the “Farm to Fork” strategy will be at the center of the public hearing, “The impact of the Farm to Fork Strategy on Agriculture and Food systems”. It has been jointly organized by the Environment Commission (ENVI) and the Agriculture Commission (AGRI), which has presented the results of the studies: “Economic and Food Security Impacts of Agricultural Input Reduction Under the European Union Green Deal’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies”, by Jayson Beckman (United States Department of Agriculture); “Impact Assessment Study on EC 2030 Green Deal Targets for Sustainable Food Production - Effects of Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategy 2030 at Farm, National and EU level”, by Roel Jongeneel (Wageningen University); “Building blocks for food system resilience in Europe - Towards systemic agricultural change post-COVID -19”, by Nora Hiller (Policy Analyst, Land Use and Climate, Institute for European Environmental Policy), and “Reaching the Farm to Fork objectives and beyond: impacts of an agro ecological Europe on land use, trade and global food security”, by Pierre - Marie Aubert (Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales). These studies offer a global and European vision on future prospects, and strategies to resiliently adapt the system of food production to change, as well as also through agro ecology (live broadcast here).

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