EU news – Post date: September 21st, 2020.

Covid-19 impacts on food chain – EC survey open to 30 September

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has launched a survey – “Questionnaire to operators in the agri-food supply chain on effects of the Covid-19 outbreak” – to assess with greater accuracy the influence of the pandemic on operators in EU agri-food supply chains. The survey will help to better understand the resilience, constraints and responses of operators in the agri-food chain in order to contribute with the relevant evidence to the EU policy making. There are two surveys:

The study includes the EU and (since it falls within the Brexit transition period ending on 31 December) also the UK. The deadline for participation is 30 September 2020. See more details, including the current status of participation in the survey, here.

ESSA and Freshfel Europe: multi-level food crisis management

On 2 September, over 200 industry and public sector stakeholders from across Europe and beyond gathered at a Food Crisis Management Event, jointly organised by the European Sprouted Seeds Association (ESSA) and Freshfel Europe, to analyse previous and potential food crisis situations, the lessons learnt from them, and best crisis response approaches (Freshfel, 3 September). Business operators, crisis management experts, national authorities and European Commission officials discussed the reputational damage and health hazards that food crises have represented. Participants were then challenged to react to two future scenarios, one of which inspired by the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting reviewed the management of former food crisis situations, namely food hygiene and food fraud cases. The meeting also dedicated discussions to hypothetical future crisis scenarios and how they should be managed by actors across the supply chain in conjunction with national authorities and the European Commission. Inspired by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the final panel discussion focused on the role of misinformation in the management of food crises.

European Union: Charting the course for the year ahead

In her State of the Union address on 16 September, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented her vision for a Europe that emerges stronger from the pandemic and leads the way towards a new vitality.

“With NextGenerationEU, Europe has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make change happen by design. It has the vision, the plan, the investment.” To enable Europe to become green, digital and more resilient, the European Commission will focus on:

  • Protecting lives and livelihoods in Europe, the health of our citizens and the stability of our economy;
  • Reinforcing the building blocks of the European Green Deal and raising our ambitions;
  • Leading the digital transformation, particularly on data, technology and infrastructure;
  • Making the most of our single market;
  • Continuing to rally global response as the world awaits an accessible, affordable and safe vaccine against Covid-19;
  • Responding more assertively to global events and deepening our relations with EU’s closest neighbours and global partners;
  • Taking a new approach to migration, remaining vigilant on the rule of law and building a union where racism and discrimination have no place;
  • On greenhouse emissions, the speech set a reduction goal of 55% by 2030, significantly higher than the current target of 40%;
  • The EU will take more leadership in the digital transformation, especially on data, technology and infrastructure.

(Read the speech here, and view the video here; also see Euronews, 16 September)

The Food Bridge: 2020 African Diaspora Agrofood forum

The fourth edition of the 2020 African Diaspora Agrofood forum took place on 11 September in virtual format, on the theme “Land, people and markets: building a sustainable and inclusive agrofood sector”. The virtual event included speakers with expertise in different sections of the agrofood sector and related fields including policy makers, agrofood entrepreneurs, investment experts and researchers. The first panel, which focused on the African agrofood sector in a changing world, included contribtions from Dr Escipion Oliveira Gomes and Mr Viwanou Gnassounou of the Organisation of ACP States (OACPS), as well as COLEACP’s Delegate General Jeremy Knops, among others. Find the full information here.

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