European Parliament approves new commissioners
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New Commissioners expected to shape the EU agri-food to 2020 were approved by the European Parliament in a plenary vote of the entire Juncker Commission college with 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions in Strasbourg on 22 October, following hearings with respective Parliamentary committees at the end of September and beginning of October. The new President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has outlined the Commission’s priorities relevant to the agri-food sector for each Commissioner. Priorities identified under the leadership of the new Commissioners include:
Phil Hogan (IE) - Agriculture and Rural Development (see picture): ensuring that rural development spending is part of the EU’s jobs and growth strategies; implementation of CAP with an emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity and issues related to flexibility and simplification, further simplification of direct payments - in particular with regards to greening - as well as rural development, quality policy and the fruit and vegetables scheme.
Vytenis Andriukaitis (LT ) - Health and Food Safety: reviewing the existing decision-making process with respect to genetically modified organisms, ensuring the EU’s capacities to deal with food safety
crisis and pandemics.
Karmenu Vella (MT ) – Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries: reviewing of existing environmental legislative framework including an in-depth evaluation of the Birds and Habitats directives which are the cornerstone of EU policy on biodiversity; assessing the current state of play on the Circular Economy package based on feedback from European Parliament and Council. This is linked to the better use of resources and lowering the impact on the EU’s natural resources.
IFOAM EU believes that as Europe begins to slowly emerge from the economic crisis, real sustainable solutions must be at the heart of the incoming Juncker Commission’s agenda and not sidelined in favour of short-term opportunistic political and economic goals that lead a to “race to the bottom.” In the EU Organic Action Plan 2014, the Commission itself acknowledges that organic farming offers real solutions to realising the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. IFOAM EU will continue to highlight the importance of ensuring that EU policies over the next five years are capable of stimulating sustainable growth and green job creation that can be delivered by the organic sector. More information is available here and from the Commission website.