The ARC asks the Agriculture Council to keep an open mind

PDF version available here

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release

The ARC asks the Agriculture Council to keep an open mind

Brussels, September 17, 2010 – The Agricultural and Rural Convention 2020 (ARC) is asking the 27 Ministers of Agriculture of the EU Member States, as they meet in La Hulpe for an Informal Council on Sunday 19 September, to keep an open mind to unconventional thinking in their discussion about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“The public debate launched by Commissioner Ciolos, and the “CAP post 2013” conference in mid-July, showed that European citizens and a wide range of civil society organisations are not happy with the status quo”, said Professor Michael Dower, an ARC initiator.

He added “Rising public concern about climate change, food quality, animal welfare, the environment and territorial cohesion within Europe points clearly towards the need for new thinking. On behalf of civil society, we urge Ministers to be open to radical ideas. A future CAP must have broad support from the whole of European society.”

The ARC brings together a wide range of civil society organisations at European, national, regional and local level. At the July Conference, it launched a call for:

• A paradigm shift in agriculture, from a dominant European model of intensive industrial farming and a centralised food industry to a sustainable and diversified pattern of regional and local production and processing of food, with closer links between farmers and consumers, high care for public health, and respect for the environment

• An economic renaissance of rural areas, building upon the strength and diversity of communities and cultures and the sustainable use of human and natural resources.

Following that Conference, ARC is preparing a more detailed and policy-based Communication to the European Institutions on the future of the Common Agricultural and Rural Development Policies. This will be finalised at a conference in Brussels on November 4 and 5, attended by a broad network of civil society organisations, and will be submitted to the Council, Commission and Parliament before the publication later that month of the Commission’s own Communication.

Professor Dower said ”We stand ready to support the Commission, Parliament and Council in the shaping of the future CAP, and expect to play an active role in the public consultation from November onwards, from the standpoint of the Communication that we will submit.”

– ENDS –