Europe’s food and drink industry
launches its priorities for the EU Institutions
by Mella Frewen, FoodDrinkEurope Director General
FoodDrinkEurope, the organisation of Europe’s food and drink industry, recently launched its policy priorities for the EU Institutions. 2019 is a particularly special year in European politics, with the European Parliament elections in May and a new European College of Commissioners in place in the autumn.
Our industry provides some 1.5 billion meals every day to citizens across Europe. We are the largest manufacturing sector and leading employer in the EU, and we have managed to remain resilient throughout challenging times. In order to continue to grow, innovate and create new jobs, we need the right business environment in which to operate.
Food and drinks represent some of our society’s greatest traditions. Europeans take pride in the fact that our wonderful and diverse cuisine is enjoyed by millions all over the world. Our food culture is one of the EU’s greatest success stories.
Our industry is ready to ‘step up to the plate’ as it honours its commitment to grow by 2.5 to 3.5% year on year to 2025. In order to succeed, we ask for EU policy-makers’ support on the following key issues:
- Ensure better regulation, and less fragmentation of the Single Market
- Recognise the importance of food in EU policies
- Support a fair and strong agri-food supply chain
- Enable a better dialogue amongst industry, citizens and law-makers
- Invest in food education
- Set a strong food trade agenda in the current global context
- Implement an ambitious food research and innovation policy
Strengthening and completing the Single Market for food and drinks is our industry’s top priority; it is an absolute necessity to support the competitiveness, quality and sustainability of the food and drink sector in Europe and its position as a global leader. The Single Market for food and drinks deserves more recognition in the European Commission, Parliament and Council. For instance, the creation of an EU Commission Directorate General for Food (not limited to agriculture) could be envisaged, as well as a dedicated European Parliament Intergroup on Food.
The EU Institutions play a crucial role in drawing up, finalising, and delivering on a host of important dossiers; their work has a direct influence on all key issues affecting Europe’s food and drink industry, from food safety to consumer information, and from innovation to trade, to name but a few.
There remains much to do and, as the European Union enters a new and challenging period, EU policy-makers will play a decisive role in laying the foundations of stability and prosperity for years to come. This is an important responsibility that will necessitate positive engagement with all stakeholders concerned.
Looking ahead, after this year’s elections, we hope that policy-makers will take a balanced, harmonised European approach to legislation to enable our industry to continue to provide growth and jobs for EU citizens, ensure consumer satisfaction and well-being, and secure environmental sustainability.
The report presenting FoodDrinkEurope’s Priorities for the EU Institutions can be found online here.