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Protecting the EU agri-food supply chain in the face of COVID-19

02-04-2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's ...

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries' governments have taken a host of measures, including reintroducing border controls and setting limits to free movement of people within their territory, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. These measures have had a pronounced impact on the EU agri-food supply chain. The EU food system is a complex web of inter-related sectors that ensure both the sustenance of EU consumers and the achievement of food security, one of the EU Treaty's objectives. This system relies on about 10 million farms, several hundred thousand food and beverage processing companies, thousands of businesses manufacturing agricultural inputs or handling packaging, transport, storage and distribution, as well as wholesalers, markets and other retailers. When the functioning of any one sector of the food chain is hindered, the whole chain can be disrupted. For instance, as highlighted by sectoral stakeholders and then addressed by EU-level measures, recent national restrictions have contributed to problems such as blocked transport routes, long queues at border checks for commodity transport, and shortages of seasonal farm workers who can no longer move freely from one Member State to another. Specific schemes have been set up at EU level as a lifeline to farms and companies from the agri-food sectors that have been the hardest hit and are in greatest need of support. The European Parliament voted the first emergency measures to combat COVID-19 at an extraordinary plenary meeting on 26 March. Members of the Parliament's Agricultural and Rural Development Committee have put forward proposals on further measures. There has also been an overhaul of EU farm policy rules as a first step to address the emergency at EU level. How these rules will evolve further depends on the concerted efforts of all parties concerned: stakeholders, the EU and national policy-makers. Unified action at EU level is also required to complete the legislative process for the adoption of the 2021-2027 long-term EU budget and future EU farm policy, discussion of which has slowed down due to the crisis.

Information package on ‘Innovation in Agriculture’ Public Hearing of 18 February 2020

18-02-2020

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

What if crop protection were environment-friendly?

11-02-2020

Pesticides are indispensable in modern agriculture, but the EU wants crop protection to be responsible and eco-friendly. What options are there to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides?

Pesticides are indispensable in modern agriculture, but the EU wants crop protection to be responsible and eco-friendly. What options are there to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides?

Desertification and agriculture

10-02-2020

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for ...

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for those regions of the world that may change into drylands for climatic reasons. Desertification is reversible, but that requires proper indicators to send out alerts about the potential risk of desertification while there is still time and scope for remedial action. However, issues related to the availability and comparability of data across various regions of the world pose big challenges when it comes to measuring and monitoring desertification processes. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN sustainable development goals provide a global framework for assessing desertification. The 2018 World Atlas of Desertification introduced the concept of 'convergence of evidence' to identify areas where multiple pressures cause land change processes relevant to land degradation, of which desertification is a striking example. Desertification involves many environmental and socio-economic aspects. It has many causes and triggers many consequences. A major cause is unsustainable agriculture, a major consequence is the threat to food production. To fully comprehend this two-way relationship requires to understand how agriculture affects land quality, what risks land degradation poses for agricultural production and to what extent a change in agricultural practices can reverse the trend. Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification. Yet, agriculture itself can provide solutions to land degradation. Almost half of the EU Member States have declared that part of their territory is affected by desertification, yet there is no EU-level strategy to tackle this problem. EU agricultural policy can have an impact on the elements and drivers of desertification, for example, by promoting sustainable agriculture in the awareness that protecting farmland productivity is of interest to the public and farmers alike.

EU trade and transport of live animals

07-02-2020

Every year, millions of live animals are transported within and outside European Union (EU) territory for trade purposes. EU legislation regulates the protection of animals during transport, but reports of breaches of the rules and accidents raise doubts on the transport of live animals and have rekindled the debate on the need to improve the current legislation.

Every year, millions of live animals are transported within and outside European Union (EU) territory for trade purposes. EU legislation regulates the protection of animals during transport, but reports of breaches of the rules and accidents raise doubts on the transport of live animals and have rekindled the debate on the need to improve the current legislation.

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

05-02-2020

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

Natural resources and environment: Heading 3 of the 2021-2027 MFF

27-01-2020

Dedicated to programmes and funds supporting agriculture and maritime policy, and environment and climate change, Heading 3 is the second biggest in terms of funding in the European Commission proposal on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The two agricultural funds – the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – are the main financial instruments for the common agricultural policy (CAP). They will continue to ...

Dedicated to programmes and funds supporting agriculture and maritime policy, and environment and climate change, Heading 3 is the second biggest in terms of funding in the European Commission proposal on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The two agricultural funds – the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – are the main financial instruments for the common agricultural policy (CAP). They will continue to absorb the greater part of the financial resources under this heading. However, the European Commission proposes an amount of €324 284 million to cover both funds, which is a decrease of around €60 000 million (or 15 %) compared to the current MFF (2014-2020), after deducing current United Kingdom (UK) spending. The proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) would amount to €5 448 million, which is 13 % less than in the current MFF, after deducting current UK spending. In its November 2018 resolution on the European Commission proposals for the new MFF, the European Parliament, raised the budget for agricultural and maritime policy back to the level of the current MFF (2014-2020), to €391 198 million. Where the European Commission proposes €4 828 million for the Programme for Environment & Climate Action (LIFE) for 2021-2027, Parliament's resolution increased this amount considerably, requesting an allocation of €6 442 million. Parliament has also asked for a new Energy Transition Fund, with a budget of €4 800 million for 2021-2027, to address the negative socio-economic impact on workers and communities affected by the transition from a coal and carbon dependent economy to a low-carbon economy. The Council has not yet adopted a position on the MFF proposal and national positions are divergent. However, according to the 'negotiating box' proposed by the Finnish Council Presidency, under Heading 3, the cuts in the budget for agriculture would represent a reduction of 13 % in spending, compared to the current MFF.

'From Farm to Fork' strategy on sustainable food

20-01-2020

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - January 2020

13-01-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - December 2019

16-12-2019

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

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