In other words, I would like us to engage with assurance and originality in a Common Agricultural Policy with two important objectives: protecting us from these considerable risks and volatile global markets that could threaten Europe’s food sovereignty; and promoting the major European agricultural transition and giving countries more flexibility in organizing their regions and sectors, reducing bureaucracy, and, at regional level, allow for more flexible support for industries, wherever choices — which remain collective choices on the ground — are necessary.
What Europeans are demanding is to be able to have confidence in the foods and products they use on a daily basis, and that is part of the food safety I was talking about. And here too we see that acting at European level is vital. This summer we experienced this with what has been called the egg crisis. We saw that when something goes wrong somewhere in Europe, because of our integrated market, it has consequences everywhere in Europe that can cast doubt on our food safety, with a perfectly legitimate demand on the part of our citizens to be truthfully informed about these topics in real time.
We therefore should establish a European investigation and inspection force to tackle fraud, ensure food safety, and ensure compliance with quality standards throughout Europe. This transformation, we must also carry it out. And in this respect, I support the choice of President Juncker to end double food standards throughout Europe and ensure that this investigation and inspection force is the driver of this legitimate convergence.
What Europeans are demanding is to be able to have confidence in the experts that are providing us information. Our recent debates on glyphosate and endocrine disruptors have proven the need for European scientific assessment that is more transparent and more independent, with better funded research so that risks can be identified and alternatives proposed. This is crucial. Today we have political debates that, at times, seek to take the place of scientific debate. Science must provide information on the dangers but also independently and transparently indicate scientifically proven alternatives. In no case must science be eclipsed to the benefit of political commitments which then become remarks by “experts” or words of authority; nor must it give way to public discourse which coincides with that of lobbies or industrial interests and makes the collective decisions our citizens expect of us less transparent.