In May, the European Commission presented the Farm to Fork Strategy to demonstrate the contribution of a sustainable food system to the European Green Deal. The Strategy outlines 27 actions and also takes up important initiatives that have already been launched by Germany. This includes uniform EU-wide extended nutritional labelling, the animal welfare label or the reduction of food waste.

In this context, Federal Minister Klöckner declared:

The unanimous decision that we reached sends out an important signal and reflects our commitment to a sustainable and economically viable agri-food industry. For the first time in the EU the whole food system is considered – ranging from farm to fork.

As Presidency of the Council, we have attached importance to ensuring that the measures in the Strategy are feasible for European farmers and that we are focused on results. The Commission has pledged to provide impact assessments. New requirements also need to be backed up by appropriate funding. If we want to have regional production and achieve food security, we must not jeopardise the competitiveness of the European agri-food sector. The holistic approach therefore has to take interdependencies and conflicting objectives into consideration – from farmers to consumers.

The Council conclusions are a commitment of the EU member states to a strong EU agri-food industry that

  • relies on innovation and digital technology;
  • can operate profitably and thus withstand competition; and
  • secures its own economic basis and better protects our resources.

The Council conclusions serve as a guide to the EU Commission for its future work. The question will be how the European Union can successfully make the transition to a truly sustainable and resistant food system. This step will require measures and changes in numerous policy areas at all levels – national, European and global.

Key aspects of the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conclusions:

The Council of Agriculture Ministers

  • agrees that the access of European citizens to a sufficient and diverse supply of high-quality, nutritious, safe and sustainably produced food at affordable prices has to be constantly ensured to achieve food security;
  • stresses that ensuring a fair income for primary producers is of major importance for a successful transition to a sustainable food system;
  • welcomes the fact that the Strategy also highlights research and innovation as a means to achieve sustainable food systems. This includes green and digital innovations and biotechnology, provided that they are safe for human health and for the environment;
  • emphasises the importance of maintaining and restoring soil fertility and agricultural productivity in order to guarantee economic, social and ecological sustainability;
  • highlights the importance of promoting the reformulation of food in line with guidelines for a healthy and sustainable diet (e.g. for salt, sugar and saturated fatty acids);
  • underlines that food labelling, marketing methods, pricing, easy access, nutritional quality, dietary education and information campaigns play an integral part in promoting a healthy and sustainable diet.