Posts Tagged ‘EU policy’


2018-06-06 Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN)

International Forum on Food & Nutrition


This Forum was held in the SQUARE (Brussels, BE) and focused on the Mediterranean Region and Migration. Noteworthy speakers included Gerba Verburg (Assistant Secretary General at the UN and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement), Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development), and Leo Abruzzese (Global Director of Public Policy, The Economist Intelligence Unit) amongst many others.

Verburg talked about how regional development should be tied more closely to agricultural development as well as stating that nutrition and food security are increasingly makers and markers of success across all SDGs. Hogan hinted that CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) should be transformed to include more work on nutrition and health, under a new name ‘Common Agriculture and Food Policy’, which is also a recommendation from BCFN.  Abruzzese discussed developments to the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), particularly expansion to include all EU countries and more sub-Saharan countries. He highlighted that new datasets have been added (e.g. fish stocks) and suggestions for future additions would be welcome.

Other speakers included Myriam Perez (Director of Young Professionals for Agricultural and Rural Development [YPARD]), whose organisation connects farmers to researchers to develop new food products, and Mohamed Wageih (Director of Social Innovation & Business Incubation Center, SEKEM Development Foundation) who wants to build partnerships between Europe and Africa to learn from best practices in addressing food and nutrition related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

2018-06-05 EuroHealthNet event: Smart Investments? Let’s talk prevention

Hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union (Brussels, BE), this event sought to discuss practical opportunities for funding healthcare prevention in Europe. Most speakers were from Member State governments and inter-governmental institutions, such as WHO, OECD, and the EU.

Thomas Kergall (Council of Europe Development Bank) highlighted that most funding is for infrastructure projects, but more funding for projects reaching out to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, is being sought. Agnieszka Markowska (ESI Funds for Health) discussed how this initiative brings together investment from the European Social and Regional Development funds to support projects that improving access to healthcare, reducing health inequalities, and boos healthcare reforms. Stefan Schreck (Head of Unit, DG SANTE) encouraged the audience to share their ideas and projects through the EC Public Health Best Practices Portal.

2018-06-05 STOA workshop: EIT’s role in strengthening EU innovation

Held in the European Parliament (Brussels, BE), this workshop focused on current work and future goals of the EIT (European Institute of Innovation & Technology) in strengthening innovation across Europe. Speakers included three MEPs on the STOA Panel, Eva Kaili (S&D, EL), Paul Rubig (EPP, AT), and Christian Ehler (EPP, DE), Tibor Navracsics (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport – responsible for EIT), Martin Kern (Acting Director of EIT), and Jean-David Malo (Director of Open Innovation and Open Science, EC, DG RTD).   Key messages highlighted EIT’s success in helping to close the innovation gap in Europe, and impact in regions across the whole of Europe through the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS). Navracsics and Kern both indicated there will be an expansion of EIT, with two hubs planned before end of 2018 in USA and Israel, and third planned in China during 2019; there will also be new EIT communities in addition to the existing six (Climate, Digital, Food, Health, InnnoEnergy & Raw Materials). In the future, there will be more cross-community actions, and links with European Structural Investment Funds, the proposed European Innovation Council and European Universities Network, and calls will be adapted to match UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

The European Parliament and Brexit: what it means for the food sector

18th May 2018 (London, UK)

The European Parliament Liaison Office in London (UK) hosted an expert panel to discuss the impact BREXIT will have on the UK food sector ( and consider the future of the agri-food sector and its relationship with the EU. The panel was composed of experts from across the UK food chain including farmers (Nick van Westenholz, National Farmers’ Union), food manufacturers (Helen Munday, Food Drink Federation), consumer groups (Sue Davies, Which?), academics (Prof. Erik Millstone, Sussex University) and politicians (Julie Girling MEP), and much of the discussion was focussed on trade, food safety and consumers, highlighting the relationships amongst these actors.

Nick van Westenholz explored how boosting UK food production has knock-on effects for the environment and lower food prices jeopardise the financial viability of farming. Sue Davies, Helen Munday, and Erik Millstone all championed the need for the UK to remain part of the Rapid Alert System for Food Fraud and other networks to assure food safety. Currently, it is unclear how much the UK and Europe can diverge from existing food controls given their collective influence globally.

During the questions and answers session, Helen Munday suggested that SMEs might be affected most, because they have fewer staff with expertise in technical and regulatory affairs, meaning understanding and adapting to any changes to legislation will take time and money. Public attitudes to food safety were a prominent theme throughout discussions and Helen suggested that the UK hosts many food sector R&D headquarters because of high levels of public trust in food systems.

Sam Lane, representing EuroFIR AISBL, asked what organisations have been doing to prepare for BREXIT and ensure continued cooperation. All the panellists highlighted existing relationships with EU-wide bodies, COPA-COGECA (joint EU committees of farmers and their cooperatives,, BEUC (European Consumer Organisation,, and FoodDrinkEurope (represents the European food and drink industry, and the intent to continue to engage with these groups as well as the value these groups place on UK expertise. Indeed, the desire and need for continued dialogue and cooperation across the agrifood sectors after BREXIT was most prevalent message coming out of the event.