A view from the European Parliament (vol.4)

2017 continues to be another significant year with agri-food issues remaining high on the European Parliament’s agenda. We have seen progress on a number of files in recent months, in particular in the areas of food waste, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, emissions effort-sharing, and Brexit. In May, MEPs adopted the own-initiative report by Biljana Borzan MEP to reduce food waste and improve food safety. The report calls on the Commission to implement measures to cut food waste by 30% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030; facilitate food donations and make “best before” and “use by” labels easier to understand for consumers. FoodDrinkEurope has actively contributed to this own-initiative report and will continue to highlight its commitment and support to food waste prevention activities through EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste.

The Culture (CULT) committee adopted their proposal on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) which encourages audiovisual media service providers to develop codes of conduct for food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar during children’s programmes. This has resulted is stronger codes of conduct in some member states, as well as the EU Pledge, a voluntary initiative by companies to limit food and beverage marketing to children across Europe. The outcome of the vote is a positive one for the food and drink industry as MEPs voted to support self- and co-regulation for food and beverage advertising, to reject any reference to WHO nutrition criteria in the text, and to accept a more balanced wording on alcohol advertising. CULT MEPs have now been given the mandate to enter inter-institutional negotiations on AVMSD on behalf of the Parliament. 

The ENVI committee has approved its draft report on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the Dutch Liberal MEP, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy. The proposal lays down minimum contributions of Member States to emission reductions for the period from 2021 to 2030 and the rules for determining the annual emission allocations.

Looking ahead, we see that Brexit negotiations will continue to feature strongly on the Parliament’s agenda. The so-called dual quality of foodstuffs is gaining political traction with more MEPs calling on the Commission to take action, and several committees are developing initiatives to promote the Sustainable Development Goals. A strong Single Market for good and services and further advancing bi-lateral trade agreements with third countries will also be high on the list of priorities.