BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Commission on Nov. 21 presented a draft reform of the information and promotion policy for European agricultural and food products. This new promotion policy, which benefits from a more substantial budget and will in the future be supported by a European executive agency, is intended to act as key for opening up new markets. 

With the slogan 'Enjoy, it´s from Europe', the policy aims to help the sector's professionals break into international markets and make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers to provide quality products, based on a genuine strategy established at European level.

“In a world in which consumers are increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods, European farmers and small or medium sized enterprises are in a position of strength. The European agricultural and agri-food sector is well known for the unrivalled quality of its products and its compliance with standards that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. With over €110 billion worth of exports already, this is a formidable asset for boosting growth and employment within the E.U.,” said Dacian Ciolo?, commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

This proposal follows on from a wide-ranging debate, ongoing since 2011, on a Green Paper (IP/11/885), which was followed by a communication (IP/12/332). The proposal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and to the council. The main elements set out in this reform are:

• A significant increase in the aid allocated to information and promotion initiatives with the aim of strengthening the competitiveness of European agriculture. European aid should increase progressively from €61 million in the 2013 budget to €200 million in 2020;
• The establishment of a European promotion strategy, which will allow for promotion measures to be more targeted. This strategy should lead to: an increase in the number of programs aimed at third countries and multi-country programs (programs represented by organizations from several member states) through a higher co-financing rate for these two categories: 60% of E.U. co-financing instead of 50% currently; on the internal market, overcoming consumers' lack of awareness about the merits of European agricultural products in general and products endorsed by European quality systems in particular:
• Widening the scope of measures by: allowing labelling to specify the origin of products and their brands, within certain limits; extending eligible beneficiaries to include producer organizations; extending the range of products eligible for inclusion under European quality systems, particularly to processed agri-food products, such as, for example, pasta;
• Simplifying administrative procedures, with selection henceforth taking place in one phase at the commission, rather than in two phases as is currently the case (first member state and then the European Commission);
• Facilitating management of programs developed jointly by organizations from several member states via a one-stop system at the commission.