EDITORIAL: ✅️ Reality Check

Good morning and happy (what feels like) the 126th day of January! 

With European elections looming large on the horizon—and the EU Green Deal hanging in the balance, with even more ambition needed—we are more than a little preoccupied with new polls and projections. We will also cover the EU’s pop-up strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture and why your beer may soon taste bad. Enjoy! 


RIGHT TURN AHEAD? Recent polls indicate a rise in anti-EU populism, with radical right-wing parties expected to make significant gains in countries like France, Poland and Austria. Meanwhile, studies suggest that in 2024, the divide between anti- and pro-European sentiments is giving way to a more complex fracture along the lines of five distinct crises: the climate emergency, international migration, global economic turmoil, the war in Ukraine, and the coronavirus pandemic. These crises are shaping voter preferences beyond traditional left-right ideologies, leading to a five-tribe political landscape. Woah!

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER: The reality is that dealing with the climate crisis does not need to come at the expense of tackling other economic or social issues, in fact it will help solve them. In the face of unsettling predictions, we’ll need to work even harder to keep the political agenda green! We all have a role to play, and contructive dinner-table talk with family and friends is highly encouragaged. If you need information or data to support these conversations, let us know.


DON’T GET DISTRACTED: Sadly, we can’t pause global heating until the elections. Given our uncertain future, it’s crucial that the EU fulfils its EU Green Deal commitments before the new term begins. This is the message we’re conveying to Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, who this weekend announced his candidacy for the EU Parliament elections.

HOT SEAT: With EU regulations allowing Sinkevičius to retain his position during campaigning, we’re counting on him to uphold the ambition he’s known for, and to lead DG ENVI to close out several important files, including the soil monitoring law and revised ambient air quality and urban waste water treatment directives, before handing over the baton.  


A SEAT AT THE TABLE: Against a backdrop of Europe-wide farmers’ protests, this week the EU Commission launched its long-awaitedstrategic dialogue on the future of agriculture. The EEB, alongside 29 other entities spanning the spectrum of the value chain—from young farmers to trade and consumer associations, other civil society and big industry lobbies—was invited, as one of three environmental NGOs, to participate in the kick-off plenary. 

STRATEGIC DIALOGUE OR DISTRACTION? The EU Commission had promised to deliver a proposal for a framework law for sustainable food systems, by the end of 2023, as a main pillar of the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy. However, such a law has yet to appear. The strategic dialogue has emerged in its absence with the aim of bringing different stakeholders together and building a strong consensus on what that transition should look like. Hmmm …

OFF TO A ROCKY START: Invites to this high-level event were issued only a week in advance, leaving many raising eyebrows and asking questions about the Commission’s commitment to enabling a meaningful exchange among stakeholders. Hmmm …

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS: The prevailing model underpinning Europe’s agriculture is not working for most of us. Our food systems cause a third of emissions worldwide, are the leading cause of biodiversity loss and, as recent events are showing, run totally counter to the interests of Europe’s farmers

ASK THE UN: As UN Special Rapporteur for extreme food poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, noted this week, farmers are “the first victims of the dominant productivist model” that shapes our food systems and are being exploited by the far-right on a global scale.  

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: The transition to sustainable food systems is in everybody’s business. It is urgent, and it cannot be achieved without the contribution of all food system actors. The strategic dialogue is the opportunity to drive this forward, together. And we, as the EEB, look forward to engaging constructively in the hopes of genuinely fixing our broken food system. More to come!


BAD NEWS: In fitting with our meditation on the state of food systems, we have bad news for Brussels’ favourite brew: Carlsberg’s CEO admits global heating could alter the taste of beer.  

WHATS BREWING: Water shortages, crop failures and wildfires are limiting the supply of the three key ingredients in beer—water, barley and hops. And while the company’s top-dog doesn’t see the climate crisis putting an end to the drink anytime soon, he does admit there might be a change in the flavour.😱 


Fancy yourself as the EEB’s next HR head honchoBiodiversity influencer or storyteller, or even top dog for Air Quality and Agriculture? Then apply now! 

Check out our website for more information about the roles and the application process. 

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