Brussels, 16 November 2010
First meeting of the High Level Forum for a better functioning of the food supply chain
The High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain is meeting for the first time in Brussels on Tuesday 16 November. It will adopt a work plan to boost competitiveness and to promote best contractual practices in the European food sector, extending the work of the previous High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry to the whole supply chain. Vice President Antonio Tajani is leading this exercise together with his fellow Commissioners Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), John Dalli (Health and Consumer Policy) and Dacian Cioloş (Agriculture and Rural development).
In a joint statement Vice-President Antonio Tajani and fellow commissioners Michel Barnier, John Dalli and Dacian Cioloş said: "It is essential that these various initiatives lead to a more competitive agro food sector for the benefit of consumers, farmers and the industry. This is the reason why the Commission decided to establish the Forum". By working together in this Forum, we can provide the food supply chain with means to contribute actively to the Europe 2020 Strategy.” They added: On food safety we must at the same time, contribute to competitiveness along the food chain and ensure higher confidence for consumers who are the driving force behind this market sector".
The Forum comprises of 45 members representing mainly selected Member States, European companies dealing with food production, processing or distribution, as well as professional associations and non-governmental organisation representing citizens’ interests.
The mandate of the Forum is two-fold. On the one hand, it will have to follow the recommendations of the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry. On the other hand, it will ensure that the initiatives proposed by the European Commission in its Communication “A better functioning food supply chain in Europe” (COM (2009) 591) are implemented on the basis of on-going discussions with relevant stakeholders.
The work of the Forum will be developed along a three-tier structure, namely:
The Forum has a two-year mandate ending 31 December 2012. The Forum will be meeting once a year and is expected to approve its final report by 2012.
The Forum represents an extension of the mandate and membership of the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry (HLG) created in 2008. The HLG brought together Member States as well as senior policy makers from the agro-food industry, civil society and professional associations with the intention to identify the main challenges the European food industry is facing. The main outcomes of the Group were the 30 recommendations issued in 2009 as well as the Roadmap of key initiatives. (IP/09/1089)
The agro-food manufacturing industry represents 2% of Europe's GDP and 13.5% of total employment in the EU’s manufacturing sector. It consists of approximately 310.000 enterprises, some of which are global leaders. Together with the agricultural and distribution sectors, it provides consumers with a diversity of safe and healthy products which meet their needs.
For more information:
Here is the link to the press conference:
The images of the meeting itself will be transmitted in the EbS News slot at 17:30