Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-11-25-Speech-3-462"

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"Madam President, I also deplore that none of the G8 leaders were present at Rome except for Commission President Barroso, and of course, it adds to the image that this has been a summit which did not bring that much new. When you look at the final declaration this is, I think, also obvious. On the other hand, I think it is also very important that we managed to keep the food security item on the political agenda and the result of the several summits we have been witnessing in 2009 has certainly been that it is now high on the international agenda and that, whenever world leaders meet, for example, latterly in Pittsburgh for the G20, there is talk of development cooperation and development policy. So that in itself is a very positive element. I have been in Rome and I must say that apart from the final declaration which is, I must agree, a little bit disappointing, there have been very good discussions and also a very good presence, and something can come out of it. For example, there was a whole discussion on the selling of fertile land in developing countries and countries which have no arable land; buying them itself is a very interesting topic to discuss and I think it is also one where we can come to some common understanding. The second thing I would like to say is that, as a couple of Members have already said, the CAP is, of course, not ideal. Nothing is ideal in this world, but when you look at the effect of the common agricultural policy on the developing world, I think we can claim that it is, by far, the least harmful system of a big trading block with respect to distorting effects in the developing countries. The WTO has acknowledged that most, if not all, of our subsidies are non-trade-distorting because they are supporting agricultural income, not the prices of agricultural products. I am also a little bit, how should I put it, disappointed that we are blaming ourselves all the time. Europe is not ideal either but I think that with the Food Facility, for example, we took a major step forward. This involves EUR 1 billion on a two-year basis; it is not about supporting the delivery of food, but is largely focused on delivering seeds and so on, sustaining small agricultural producers in the developing world. I think this really is an innovation. It has also been acknowledged as such by the World Bank, for example, which is taking over this mechanism. So we should not blame ourselves all the time. By the way, this facility was an innovation by my predecessor. There is one thing I do not agree with him and that was about a gentleman who, in the meantime, has disappeared, Mr Le Hyaric. He is not a socialist, my predecessor, he is a communist; I mean you should look at his political group: he is a communist and that probably explains the reasoning he was using. Having said this, also in L’Aquila, we took up our responsibility as a European Commission and we pledged USD 4 billion, which is about 20% of the food package and the support package that was agreed in L’Aquila. With that, we are by far the largest donor that made pledges in L’Aquila and we are also going to honour them. We are also going to commit this sum and to disburse this as soon as possible. I will end by saying a last word on the new EU agricultural and food security policy because, in the 2010 work programme of the Commission, there is a plan to present to the Council and the Parliament a communication on a renewed policy for agriculture and food security for the European Union. This document will review current issues affecting agriculture and food security, for example, challenges posed by climate change, enhanced attention to nutrition and food quality, safety nets and social protection policies, the impact of biofuels on food production or the use and impact of new technologies and biotechnologies, increased calls for rights-based approaches, large-scale land acquisition, etc. The communication will aim firstly at renewing the EU commitment to assist developing countries advancing their agricultural production. This remains crucial, notably in view of the increasing demand for food due to a growing global population and changing dietary patterns and the challenges and threats that climate change is posing to sustainable agricultural production. Secondly, it will aim at launching reflection on how the EU could best use its experience and know-how to support the emergence of regional policies and strategic frameworks in agriculture and food security. Thirdly, it will aim at providing the basis for the whole EU approach to harmonise existing ECMS policy frameworks following the commitments set out in the L’Aquila agenda for action. Fourthly, it will aim at proposing ways on how the EU could contribute to accelerating the process towards the achievements of the MDGs and notably, MDG1 in view of the upcoming review of the MDGs in September 2010 in New York. Fifthly, it will aim at better positioning the EU vis-à-vis current developments in the global food agricultural governance system, and lastly, at addressing issues that have recently gained prominence in the food security agenda. A public consultation on an issues paper was launched on 16 November and will close in early January. Thus we will consult all the stakeholders and then come forward with a formal communication by the European Commission."@en1

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