On 13 March 2020, EAPO and Europêche responded to the Commission who asked for their feedback on a new Roadmap on the Farm to Fork Strategy.
“With this communication, the fishing sector wanted to contribute and confirm its commitment to engage in discussions and participate in the process of the elaboration of the Strategy,” says EAPO and Europêche in a joint letter to the Head of DG Mare, Elisa Roller.
The letter continues that the joint industry representatives hope they will be consulted again before any further decisions are made:
“We trust that this meeting will be followed by an appropriate stakeholder consultation. We are sure that you agree with us that the Farm to Fork Strategy should reflect the lessons of the COVID19 pandemic in relation to food security.
“It is clear that the Strategy cannot be rolled out indistinctly of the current COVID-19 developments and the worldwide economic crisis it is producing. New elements have to be taken into account as the coronavirus crisis will not only reshuffle the EU food market, but also the primary production and the whole economy on a global scale.
“Transport chains disruptions have highlighted the importance to ensure food security through our landings. In this vein, the CFP is clear when stating that it should contribute to the supplying of highly nutritional food to the Union market and to reducing the Union market’s dependence on food imports. EU-produced seafood should therefore be given more prominence in the Strategy and even become a priority.
“The fragility of the producers has also been witnessed through this crisis. It should encourage the Commission to commit to safeguard fisheries jobs and ensure that businesses can thrive. These necessary updates need to be part of a broader shift of the new policy towards environmental, social and economic sustainability. EU fisheries have their rightful place in a Farm to Fork Strategy embedded in these sustainable components.
“The crucial revisions, the practical delays caused by COVID-19, and the need to engage with stakeholders mean that the initial timeline for the adoption of the Strategy in Spring 2020 should be postponed accordingly as we believe will be the case. The fishing sector encourages the Commission to develop a Farm to Fork Strategy made fit for the post coronavirus crisis world.
“Therefore, both its timeline and ambitions need to be revised and go through a proper stakeholder consultation, particularly with the producer organisations. The fishing industry hereby extends its cooperation to participate and work hand in hand with the Commission in order to put up together an ambitious and future-proof strategy. We will be glad to assist you in any way possible and remain available for any further meeting or request of input.”