Large survey of political parties across Europe shows increasing calls for more sustainable food and agriculture

In a newly published report, Plant-based Politics: the 2024 EU Election Guide, the European Vegetarian Union has compiled the largest survey of its kind, collecting answers from over 50 political parties across Europe and 7 Europarties, on where they stand on food policy issues.

The report looks at the answers Europarties and national political parties (from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, and Spain) submitted to a questionnaire At the EU level, the EVU collected answers from all registered and recognised Europarties with the exception of the European Democratic Party (EDP), the European People’s Party (EPP), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy Party (ID) from which no answers were received.

The questions asked ranged from financial incentives to health and environmental issues to greening the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), developing an Emissions Trading System (ETS) for agriculture, denominations for plant-based products and support for cultivated meat. These questions were in large part based on the set of policy recommendations made in the EVU’s Plant-Based Manifesto.

Overall results demonstrated that the policy recommendation with the highest political support was the implementation of binding targets to improve the environmental and climate impact of the CAP, with 78% of parties in favour, 6,6% against and the rest having no position. Also popular was the application of the polluter-pays principle to agriculture (within an ETS or carbon tax system) with 69% of the parties for it and only 16% against.   The podium for the most supported policies is completed with the implementation of binding targets to improve human health within the CAP, with 65% for and 8% against. Overall changes in the CAP to further increase environmental and health ambitions were highly supported. It was found that the majority of parties that answered the survey supported the policy recommendations of the Plant-Based Manifesto, with rejection rates remaining low, and not reaching a majority for any of the 16 questions.

On the Europarty level,  the highest support rate was found in the application of the polluter-pays principle to agriculture with an ETS system or carbon tax. This policy has the support of the European Green Party (EGP), Party of the European Socialists (PES), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE), Volt, the European Free Alliance (EFA) and the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM), with the European Left having no set position. Changing the goals of the CAP from economic to health and environment also gathered the support of most Europarties with only the ECPM being against it, and ALDE having no position

Looking ahead to the next mandate, the report also found substantial support for the development of an EU Plant-Based Action plan, similar to the one developed in Denmark.

The report was unveiled at an EVU online roundtable event on 15 May 2024. The results were presented and then debated by speakers from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), Eurogroup for Animals and the European Alliance for Plant-based Foods (EAPF). The event can be watched online.

Plant-based Politics: the 2024 EU Election Guide aims to provide voters, stakeholders, and policymakers with a clearer understanding of the political landscape regarding plant-based policy solutions. By highlighting areas of political consensus as well as topics that are not yet widely addressed, this report serves as a crucial tool for informed decision-making. The comprehensive survey results enable a better grasp of where various political parties stand, in turn making for more informed and effective advocacy for sustainable food policies across Europe.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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