CIAA welcomes new EU High Level Forum to drive food chain competitiveness

Date

19 Aug 2010

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Press release

(Brussels, 30 July 2010) European food and drink manufacturers today welcome the launch of the European Commission’s High Level Forum, which has been established in order to further strengthen the competitiveness of the agri-food industry.

CIAA (Confederation of the food and drink industries of the EU) believes the Forum will have a crucial role in finding solutions to outstanding issues that hamper the competitiveness of the food and drink sector. The new entity builds on the multi-stakeholder High Level Group on the Agri-food industry, (which, in 2009, presented 30 Recommendations to improve the competitiveness of the sector), as well as the Commission’s Communication on a ‘Better functioning food supply chain in Europe’ .(1)

The EU food and drink industry is the single largest manufacturing sector in terms of turnover and employment, and is the largest exporter and importer of food worldwide. Ensuring competitiveness within the industry is therefore central to Europe’s overall economic growth and sustainability.

Speaking on behalf of CIAA, President Jesús Serafín Pérez commented: “European food and drink manufacturers value the constructive partnership that has been forged through the High Level Group on the Agri-food industry, and look forward to the new Forum taking an active role in implementing the High Level Group Recommendations(2), whilst maintaining a key focus on the competitiveness of the food and drink industry.”

While CIAA trusts that the Forum will oversee the swift implementation of all 30 Recommendations of the High Level Group, the food and drink industry has identified 7 priority areas:

                · Taking a holistic approach to policymaking, right across the food supply chain;

                · Ensuring the sufficient supply of raw materials at competitive prices;

                · Improving the functioning of the overall food supply chain;

                · Driving forward the work of the Sustainable Production and Consumption Round Table;

                · A continuing focus on incident management;

                · Promoting nutritional information to consumers; and

                · Providing specific support for SMEs in the sector.

CIAA members are also committed to playing an active role in implementing these Recommendations. To date, members have worked with the Commission by engaging in the establishment of a social dialogue, supporting and providing direct input to the Food Chain Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table (SCP RT) as a co-founder, and promoting the European Technology Platform (ETP) Food for Life, as well as materialising the Recommendation on ‘Taking a holistic approach to policymaking, right across the food supply chain’ through a case study on food information to consumers.

Food and drink manufacturers are committed to actively participating in the Forum and its technical platforms, and contributing to results that will drive the competitiveness of Europe’s food and drink industry to meet the EU’s wider 2020 economic objectives.

-END-

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication16061_en.pdf

(2) http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=2605&userservice_id=1

For further information please contact:

Lisa McCooey, Director, Communications (CIAA), Tel: +32 2 508 10 24, or +32 476 911 300; E-mail: l.mccooey@ciaa.eu