Another day, another declaration

Hot on the heels of the joint declaration by Birdlife International and the European Landowners Association and the declaration of 23 European agricultural economists comes the European Food Declaration (PDF).

The European Food Declaration diagnoses the problems of Europe’s food and farming system in the following way:

– dependence on under-priced fossil fuels
– failure to recognise the limitations of water and land resources
– promotion of unhealthy diets high in calories, fat and salt, and low in fruit, vegetables and
– domination by transnational corporations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The declaration argues that:

“All people should have access to healthy, safe, and nutritious food. The ways in which we grow, distribute, prepare and eat food should celebrate Europe’s cultural diversity, providing sustenance equitably and sustainably.”

The declaration sets out 12 principles, among them Principle 3 makes the curiously contradictory case for healthier eating and less consumption of meat and dairy products “while
respecting the regional cultural dietary habits and traditions”. So cassoulet, bratwurst and zampone are all safe. Principle 4 calls for an agriculture “that involves numerous farmers”, presumably a call for more support to keep smaller farms in business, or to cut support for larger farms. Principle 4 also calls for “fair and secure farm prices”, i.e. a return to production controls and price-setting of the CAP of the 1970s and 1980s. Principle 7 argues that Europe should be GMO-free and Principle 8 says biofuels should be discouraged and transport minimised. Most of the other principles are of the ‘motherhood and apple pie’ variety – very sound but lacking real substance on how they’ll be achieved.

The declaration is the work of a platform of NGOs includingVia Campesina (International Peasant Movement), whose colourful José Bové is a former French presidential candidate and currently vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, Friends of the Earth and Attac Austria. The organisers will open the declaration to public signatories later this month.

You can read the declaration in full below:

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