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News Section Icon Published 09/05/2022

Brussels, 9 May 2022 – Today, the report of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE), calling for a shift to more sustainable diets and increased animal welfare, will be presented to the Joint Presidency in Strasbourg.

COFE gave EU citizens’ an important stage to communicate their concerns on the EU agricultural sector, loud and clear, advocating for key proposals and measures fundamental to achieve a more sustainable food system.

“The Conference on the future of Europe has given the floor to EU citizens’ to express, once more their concerns regarding our current food system. We expect that these legitimate and timely asks are turned into tangible political provisions by the EU institutions.” Commented Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU.

About the Conference

The conference on the Future of Europe is a citizen-led series of discussions that enable people from across the EU to share their ideas and help shape our common future.

The discussions were divided into thematic panels, covering spheres such as climate change and the environment, health, values and rights. These elaborate recommendations, coupled with the input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform (accessible by any EU citizen), were presented, and discussed in the Conference Plenary, then submitted to the representatives of the EU institutions (the Executive Board).

Conference on the Future of Europe

Key points that emerged from the discussion

From the discussions arose the urgency to shift to a more sustainable food system. Organic farming and sustainable agriculture were recognised as key measures to achieve this objective. Animal welfare was perceived as a key component to attain sustainability in food production, using provisions such as clear labelling systems, setting high standards for both farming and transport of animals.

Citizens also recognised the importance of promoting plant-based diets, fostering knowledge, and creating awareness on how reducing consumption of animal products promotes climate protection and the preservation of the environment.

Discussions around Health echoed the need to encourage more sustainable and healthy diets by setting minimum standards for food quality, with a strong focus on the threats posed by the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Great progress has been achieved through the elaboration of the proposal named Animal rights and agriculture. This aims at promoting a more ecological and climate-oriented agriculture with game-changing measures such as: measurable criteria for the protection of farmed animals, introducing fines to those who pollute the environment through their farming practices and finally, reducing subsidies for intensive agricultural systems.

fruits and vegetables

An example of participatory democracy

The knowledge collected during the conference is a great example of participatory democracy. Those participating were randomly selected and represented different geographical origins, gender, age, socioeconomic background and education levels.

Contrarily from what is commonly assumed, the Conference demonstrated that a shift towards more sustainable and animal-friendly agriculture is expected by most EU citizens, an ask not limited to a single group.

It is now the responsibility of the Joint Presidency to examine the report and follow up with policies capable of tackling the issues raised by the public, benefiting animal welfare, climate protection and our health.

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