BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — A broad coalition of associations representing Europe’s agriculture and food sectors is calling on the E.U. to boost innovation and jobs with “ambitious policies that unlock the great potential of the European agri-food chain and maintain its place as a world leader.”

The group of 11 leading E.U.-level associations presented their joint declaration, entitled: “Food for Thought: A Vision for unlocking the potential of agriculture and food industries in the E.U.,” at a reception on Sept. 23 in the European Parliament hosted by influential MEPs from across the political spectrum.

The joint vision specifically called for 4 points:

• Fostering agricultural and food chain research to sustain innovation;
• Promoting the creation and protection of jobs in the agri-food sector;
• Taking into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability in every E.U. policy measure;
• Supporting the role of Chief Scientific Adviser both at E.U. and national level.

The European Parliament reception was hosted by Ian Duncan, a member of the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, and included remarks from the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee Chair Czes?aw Adam Siekierski, the S&D Group coordinator on the same committee Paolo de Castro and also the Industry and Research Committee Philippe De Backer.

A spokesperson for the Coalition, Mella Frewen of FoodDrinkEurope, said, “Our Vision has identified the numerous challenges faced by the agri-food chain and devised a clear set of policy recommendations to meet them. We sincerely hope that policymakers at E.U. and national level will give serious consideration to these recommendations and thus help ensure that we can continue to meet the ever changing needs of consumers, grow sustainably, innovate and create jobs.”

Speaking in advance of the reception, Paolo De Castro said: “Innovation and agriculture have to go hand-in-hand if Europe wishes to accomplish sustainable growth. Unlocking the potential of EU agriculture will give an opportunity to translate ambitious policy objectives into reality.”

The coalition’s joint declaration was presented earlier this year to E.U. agriculture ministers in Athens by the 11 associations, who have since established themselves as the ‘Agri-Food Chain Coalition’.

Members of the coalition include: CELCAA (European Liaison Committee for the Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade), CEMA (European Agricultural Machinery), COCERAL (European Association of cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agro supply trade), Copa-Cogeca (European Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives), ECPA (European Crop Protection Association), ESA (European Seed Association), EuropaBio (European Association for BioIndustries), FEFAC (European Feed Manufacturers Federation), Fertilizers Europe (European Fertilizers Association), FoodDrinkEurope (European Food and Drink Industry), and IFAH Europe (European Animal Health Industry).