Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition! I already did.
It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Europe will help after all - good news for social Europe

Today:
  1. EU approves €1 billion food aid for Third World
  2. EU to intensify research into fatal diseases, CO2
  3. Commission urged to support organic food research
Almost like a New Years promises, here's the hope that the EU will continue to care about the world and to do the right things. Nice! And Happy New Year!

EU approves €1 billion food aid for Third World

5 December 2008

The European Parliament yesterday (4 December) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a proposal to provide a €1 billion food aid facility to help developing countries deal with soaring food prices.

The adoption of a report, which was effectively a compromise between MEPs, the European Council and the European Commission, paves the way for the EU to provide a total of 1 billion euro to an Emergency Food Aid Facility over the period 2008–2010. The funds will address food shortages in developing countries.

The money will target farmers in poor countries to help them cope with hikes in global food prices by buying fertiliser and seed and providing emergency food aid.

The original Commission proposal foresaw the allocation of funding from the EU's agricultural surplus, which is particularly high this year due to food price rises. But this plan was vehemently opposed by several member states amid the financial turmoil.

The deal struck in the end provides €760 million of 'fresh' money for food aid, made available via the bloc's flexibility instrument and Emergency Aid Reserve. Another €240 million will come from the redeployment of funds not earmarked for any specific purpose. source

My comment: Ok, I don't get precisely where the money came, but it's a good news. Too bad they didn't impose a restriction the money to be used only for organic seeds (it would be disgusting to find the aid pouring into Monsanto's pockets, but I guess this one is hard to secure). In any case, I'm glad to hear that. That's my vision of the EU!

EU to intensify research into fatal diseases, CO2

10 December 2008

The European Commission yesterday (9 December) offered its support to ten new research projects, giving priority to the fields of medical science and the environment.

The new projects will be broad in scope and look into fields as diverse as new technologies for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and high-security labs for research into fatal bacteria and viruses. The proposals were unveiled at the European Conference on Research Infrastructures in Versailles, which brought together researchers, government officials and operators of research sites across Europe.

The initiative is the result of an update of the 2006 European roadmap for research infrastructures, which proposed 34 projects in the science and technology fields. All these projects are part of the EU's vision to build a European Research Area (ERA; see EurActiv Links Dossier) by 2020, in which science and knowledge can circulate around without borders.

The bloc's research ministers had pledged their strong support for this vision during last week's Competitiveness Council .

Commenting on this update, EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Developing world class infrastructures is an essential part of building the European Research Area, and must be one of the priorities of the EU and national recovery plans."

The Commission proposed the foundation of a European Research Area (ERA) back in 2000. It aims to create a genuine 'internal market' for research to increase pan-European cooperation and coordination of national research activities.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook and fears that it will lead governments to cut back their R&D spending, Potočnik expressed his hope that member states would also "avoid any further delays in adopting the proposal for a European legal framework for European research infrastructures".

To finance these new projects, the Commission said it would open calls for tender within the 7th Framework Programme at the end of 2009. source

My comment: As un-holiday-like as fatal bacteria and viruses are, this is still a wonderful news. The EU should become competitive on the technology market and this is the only way to do so- give money for research, create good infrastructure, motivate people to join science. This is the best way to find the crisis and I hope the EU will hold its promise and we'll see a blossoming European science.

Commission urged to support organic food research

4 December 2008

Stakeholders called on the European Commission to provide "adequate support" for organic food and farming research at the launch of a new technology platform, TP Organics, on 2 December.

Industry, civil society and academic representatives were keen to highlight the benefits of organic food research. The stakeholder platform argued that investment in organic farming would help to improve food quality and help to meet environmental and social standards.

"The EU should not waste any time and use the tool of the 7th EU Research Framework programmeexternal to boost organic research," said Marco Schlüter, director of the EU branch of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Research in the field must "foster innovations and economic development in line with the need of society for sustainable solutions," Schlüter said.

Meanwhile Rosita Zilli, a policy adviser at the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives (Euro Coop), described foods that satisfy high quality, environmental and social standards as "part of the food ethics and praxis," something which "EU consumers widely recognise".

A desire to make farming more sustainable was also apparent.

Targeted investment would also "empower rural economies in a regional and global context," said Nic Lampkin, a senior lecturer at the University of Wales, Aberyswyth.

According to a Eurostat reportexternal published in 2005, organic farmers represent a tiny share (2%) of the total number of EU-15 farmers (EurActiv 01/08/05).

The increased pressure for further organic research to be carried out comes after farmers called on the EU to adopt organic farming as the future model of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (EurActiv 22/09/08). source

My comment: Now, it looks like there is some misunderstanding in my head about the meaning of the word "organic", because I consider it to mean, non-GMo and not pesticides-free, but in any case I support the initiative. Sure, it has very slim chances of success, but so what! It's worthy! We obviously cannot escape the pesticides completely, but if we manage to maximally avoid them, this is good enough for me. I mean, think of the food in Spain. It's so full of proteins and who knows what else that I can't eat the way I eat normally. I feel full and heavy. That's not the idea of food! The best way to prolong human life is trough decreasing the number of calories we eat. That's not going to happen if every morcel is full of calories!

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