PRESS RELEASE: Lithuanian EU Presidency – Opportunity to build on the success of organic
Vilnius, 3 July 2013 – On the occasion of the 7th European Organic Congress, IFOAM EU welcomes the new Lithuanian EU Council Presidency and the support the Lithuanian government has shown organic food and farming (1). The Congress - dedicated to shaping the organic future together in Europe and in the Baltic area – seeks in particular to make an impact on the Commissions review of the EU organic legal framework. The time of the event is key: the Commission will soon decide on the direction of its legal proposal expected in begin of 2014. Thus, we must now ensure that this review will result into a success and real progress for the development of organic production in Europe.
At the opening plenary session this morning, leading EU policy makers and organic stakeholders discussed the impact of the organic regulation review and the CAP on the future development of the organic sector. The opportunities that lie ahead during the Lithuanian Presidency were highlighted. Lithuanian Vice Minister for Agriculture Rytis Šatkauskas said that the Lithuanian Presidency looks forward to helping to create a good environment for organic food and farming in Europe through the CAP, especially as organic can enable farmers in Lithuania and the whole Baltic region to create added value products.
IFOAM EU President, Christopher Stopes, said: “The Commission’s review of the legislative and policy and framework for organic food and farming provides the opportunity to build on the success of the organic sector. We must help guide that process by offering our collective experience, driven by our principles and values. These must shape the development of the organic regulation in a way that enables expansion – more land organically farmed, more organic food eaten by all European citizens. This bold ambition depends on innovation and well informed development. A new organic action plan can lay the foundations for this whilst the new CAP is implemented and new legislative proposals for organic regulation are made.”
Alina Ujupan, Member of Cabinet of Commissioner Ciolos, underlined that organic plays an important role in the EU growth strategy “Europe 2020.” Frank Macken, chairman of the Working Party on Organic Farming of the outgoing Irish Presidency, presented the Council Conclusions on Organic Farming that called for increased efficiency and exchange of information in the organic control regime. He also stressed that the Council report called for a new European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming to “encourage the promotion of the organic sector and increased consumption of organic produce.”
IFOAM EU Group invites all organic stakeholders to actively contribute to the growth of organic food and farming in Europe. The 7th European Organic Congress provides a final opportunity to provide input to the ongoing organic regulation review and highlight the key elements required in a new European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming.
(1) The congress has been organised by IFOAM EU in co-operation with the Lithuanian Presidency and the organic sector in Lithuania.