A rural agro-food industry pact for Euro-Mediterranean regional integration
. The growing population in the south and east Mediterranean, with close to 400 million mouths to feed by 2030.
. The rise in nutritional imbalances and diseases that come with the gradual abandonment of the Mediterranean diet.
. The degradation of ecosystems, climate change and the reduction in available farming land and water resources, with serious repercussions on local production potential, which currently provides over 25 million jobs in the region.
Consequence: a rising biological and economic food deficit, and higher dependence on imports from instable international markets. If nothing is done now, a social, economic and ecological catastrophe is inevitable in the near term. The EU is directly concerned when it comes to geopolitics and contributing to the right to food and sustainable development. It must react and go beyond the discussions on Euro-Mediterranean free trade agreements that have made little headway in 30 years.
The EU should innovate by proposing a new Mediterranean agricultural and food policy based on half a century of experience and the principles of solidarity and co-development, involving the axes and measures it knows how to devise and mobilize.
1. Boost higher local food production by making significant investments in R&D, education and new institutions to structure CMO-type channels (common organization of markets), and regulations aimed at improving product quality (norms and labels)
2. Promote the Mediterranean food model through education, geographic indications, and a communication programme in UfM member countries and throughout the world in order to win back domestic markets in increase exports.
3. Build up regional joint food security by stimulating North-South and South-South complementary factors with mid-term supply contracts, security stocks of strategic products (cereals and oil crops) and UfM community preference for all food products.