NGOs call on Von der Leyen to uphold green farming ambition in State of the Union speech

The European Vegetarian Union (EVU), representing 46 organisations across Europe dedicated to environmental sustainability, human health, and animal welfare, has sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of her forthcoming and annual State of the Union speech (SOTEU) on 13 September. The letter calls for urgent action to address climate change, health, and animal welfare through a transition to sustainable food systems.

In the letter, the EVU calls on President von der Leyen to reaffirm the European Green Deal’s climate ambitions, including the Farm2Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy, in light of recent political resistance. The EVU highlights the crucial role that Europe must play in leading the global fight against climate change and emphasises the necessity of the European Green Deal for the well-being of future generations.

In another recently contentious issue, the NGO’s are calling on the President to uphold the ambition of the Sustainable Food Systems Framework. According to Ronja Berthold, EVU’s Policy Manager, “This must be a flagship policy that guides the transformation of our food systems towards sustainability. We need to see the European Commission – and crucially, its President – clearly state and stand behind ambitious objectives that help us achieve a greener and healthier Europe.”

Furthermore, the EVU calls on Von Der Leyen to highlight the need to transform the farming and food sector, advocating for a shift towards plant-based diets to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental conservation. Stating data from the last Eurobarometer on Climate Change, EVU’s letter emphasises that “up to 31% of Europeans are  already eating less meat for climate reasons, despite farming subsidies disproportionally supporting meat and dairy production, therefore making it unsustainably cheaper.”

Finally,  the President is urged to move with a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy aligning it with both environmental, health and economic prosperity targets.

The letter can be downloaded here. 

The Press Release can be downloaded here.

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