FruitVegetablesEUROPE General Assambly 2023
FruitVegetablesEUROPE Members met at the annual General Assembly in Brussels, the first face-to-face meeting since the pandemic period
The annual General Assembly of FruitVegetablesEUROPE (EUCOFEL) was held in Brussels & online on 28 February 2023, led by the President Mr. Jorge Brótons and the Secretary General Ms. Queralt Perarnau, with the presence of representatives of the various members of the Association. At this year's Assembly, Members had the opportunity to participate either in person in Brussels or online.
FruitVegetablesEUROPE (EUCOFEL) is the European private sectoral Association representing the European Fruit and Vegetables producers and exporters at the EU level. FruitVegetablesEUROPE's members are national and regional Federations and Associations (mainly PO and APO) and companies from the main European producing countries - France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
The President, Mr. Jorge Brótons, expressed concern about the difficulties of the F&V sector
The General Assembly meets once a year to formally approve the annual accounts and adopt the budget and roadmap for the year ahead. The President, Jorge Brótons, in his opening speech, expressed his concerns about the current state of the European fruit and vegetables sector:
“Over time, our sector has faced many challenges, not only as result of the pandemic of COVID-19, but also due to BREXIT, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the absence of alternative markets, the "unfair" competition from third countries, the huge increase in inflation across Europe or the decrease in consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the EU. The new CAP (2023-27), the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy are also having an impact on our sector.”
This year's General Assembly had the special participation of Mrs. Pauline Panegos, Secretary General of the Assembly of European Fruit, Vegetable and Horticultural Regions (AREFLH). Mrs. Panegos presence reinforces the collaboration between AREFLH and FruitVegetablesEUROPE, which share the same values and objectives. This collaboration is seen by FruitVegetablesEUROPE as an opportunity to speak to regional entities about fruit & vegetables producers for a stronger voice in Europe.
A special presentation by Maria Sancho and Nathalie Gasnier from ADELANTE K&D took place at the Assembly. The presentation delved on the multi-country survey on Europeans' attitudes towards Europe's fruit and vegetables - a study carried out as part of the "CuTE" projects for the promotion of fruit and vegetables in the European Union 2019 – 2022. A study about opinions and attitude of European consumers about the fruit and vegetables sector, of high interest to the Association and its Members.
For Queralt Perarnau, this Assembly is the culmination of a year at the head of the Association as Secretary-General. Ms. Perarnau addressed the Members’ representatives by making a balance on the last year of work of the secretariat:
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the support and commitment of our members who represent the Fruit and Vegetables producers from the European Union. It has been a challenging year, but we have remained committed to our mission of promoting and protecting the interests of the sector.”
The lines of action for 2023, includes the exhaustive monitoring of the regulations derived from the Farm to Fork Strategy and Green Deal
One of the highlights of the meeting agenda, was the discussion of the Association's ROAD MAP for 2023, which will define the Association's strategy and lines of action for 2023. Approved by all Member representatives present at the meeting, the Association's ROAD MAP 2023 aims to strengthen the communication strategy, increase the Association's external representativeness, broaden the Association's social base in order to increase its visibility and representation.
The lines of action for 2023 includes the exhaustive monitoring of the regulations derived from the Farm to Fork Strategy and Green Deal that directly affects the sector, such as:
- The legislative initiative presented by the European Commission on 22 June 2022, the Proposal for a Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products and amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115, whose objective is to harmonize the requirements related to the sustainable use of phytosanitary products at the European Union level. The Assembly expressed concern and highlighted the absence of data which does not provide analysis on the impact of this proposal especially on fruit and vegetables.
- The proposal for a revision of EU legislation on Packaging and Packaging Waste, published by the European Commission on 30 November 2022. The overarching objectives of the proposal are to reduce the negative environmental impacts of packaging and packaging waste, while improving the functioning of the internal market.
- The proposal for a Regulation on nature restoration, published by the European Commission on 22 June 2022.
- New regulations that are estimated to be published later this year, namely, the legislative proposal on Soil Health Law and the proposal for a new legislative Framework for Sustainable Food Systems (SFS Law).
Bilateral trade negotiations, with a special focus on the Mediterranean region (Turkey, Morocco, and Egypt), South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, is another point that complements the 2023 road map.