New measures and policies to face COVID-19 and build a more resilient food system
On 9 June 2020, the second 2020 FEBA EU Working Group took place online with the participation of almost 40 participants, including 23 Food Bankers from 19 countries and policy officers from the European Commission (DG Health & Food Safety and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and from the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy.
The EU Working Group was the occasion to take stock of the latest developments at EU level especially regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27, the recent amendments on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the progresses on the new European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy released on 20 May 2020.
In Europe in the last 3 months the COVID-19 crisis has brought not only to grief and suffering but also a new food emergency. The demand of food has increased up to 50% compared to the pre-coronavirus period. The outlook for the coming months is certainly not better.
In 2019, Eurostat estimated that 5.6% of the population (around 24 million people) in the European Union were severely materially deprived (Material deprivation statistics – early results). Now millions more people are in need and for the first time they are asking for help to put something to eat at the table. Due to the crisis caused by COVID-19, it can be expected that in 2020 the trend of severely materially deprived people will dramatically rise.
Jan Behrens (European Commission, DG EMPL) focused his presentation on the latest developments of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived and the Multiannual Financial Framework and updates on the European Social Fund Plus.
Anne-Laure Gassin (European Commission, DG SANTE) presented the new Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy explaining that it integrates 3 dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, and economic. After introducing the challenges and the main goals of the strategy, she underlined that the F2F Strategy will act with an integrated approach, including different level of governance and multiple instruments such as: legislation and regulation, financial incentives, education, research and innovation, procurement, and voluntary commitments.
Milena Battaglia (Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy) started her presentation on the CAP, the European Green Deal and the F2F Strategy and the approach of a Member State, underlying that Covid-19 crisis has reminded us that food production and the food supply chain are the basis of every economic system and therefore they must be protected, together with the access to food even in difficult situations and conditions.
At national level, the Farm to Fork Strategy is an opportunity to fight food waste and recover surplus food for the benefit of the most deprived citizens in the EU. In this context, a common and joint work is needed between the European Commission together with all the stakeholders and Member States to explore the opportunities of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the CAP.
Europe is facing a new poverty and the social crisis is in front of us. The coronavirus crisis poses specific risks for charitable organizations and the most deprived and unparalleled challenges for the management of food emergency and the redistribution of surplus food.
Shortly, a Report with the proceedings of the online meeting will be published.