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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Agri-food Industrial Ecosystem

The update of the EU Industrial Strategy highlights the need to accelerate the green and digital transitions of the EU Industry. Among the various instruments, the Commission proposed to co-create, in partnership with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders, transition pathways for the different industrial ecosystems. This consultation is aimed to initiate the process of developing a transition pathway for the agri-food ecosystem. See more information on this policy initiative.

The Commission services have prepared a staff working document to outline the main issues relevant for the ecosystem to serve as a basis for a transition pathway for a more resilient, sustainable and digital agri-food ecosystem.

The questions in this consultation cover the sustainable competitiveness, as well as aspects of regulatory environment, innovation, investment, infrastructure, the social and internal market dimension (among others). Through collaborative efforts, the aim is to co-create with all stakeholders of this ecosystem concrete actions that need to be taken to ensure resilience and achieve the green and digital transition.

These efforts will build upon the farm to fork and biodiversity strategies, the European green deal, the SME and industrial strategies, the European Pillar of Social Rights, the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food business and Marketing Practices, the European skills agenda including the pact for skills and other workstreams both at EU and national level that cover the agri-food industrial ecosystems.

In addition to the survey, the Commission will organise targeted workshops with stakeholders based on the priority areas identified, in order to deepen the discussions towards finalising the agri-food ecosystem transition pathway by the end of 2023. The respondents of this survey are invited to show the interest of their organisations to participate on some of the workshops.

You are invited to provide feedback on the staff working document through this online survey that will run until 19 September 2023.

In case of questions about this consultation, please send an email to GROW-FOODatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (GROW-FOOD[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Food and drink industry

The food and drink industry is the EU's biggest manufacturing sector in terms of jobs and value added. It’s also an asset in trade with non-EU countries. The EU boasts an important trade surplus in trade in food and EU food specialities are well appreciated overseas. In the last 10 years, EU food and drink exports have doubled, reaching over €90 billion and contributing to a positive balance of almost €30 billion.

EU food legislation is highly harmonised and the sector benefits significantly from the opportunities offered by the EU Single Market. At the same time, however, the sector faces certain challenges in both international and European markets.

The European Commission is working to improve the competitiveness of the EU food sector and the functioning of the Single Market for Food. It also strives to create new trade opportunities for food and drink products, through various trade negotiations and dialogues with third countries.

Competitiveness of the European food industry

The EU food and drink industry is generally competitive on a global scale and produces high quality, healthy and safe food. Still, in recent years, the sector is facing a decrease in its relative competitiveness compared to other world food producers, mostly in terms of slower growth in labour productivity and added value. Certain problems have been observed in the functioning of the EU food supply chain linked to transparency, sub-optimal business-to-business relationships, a lack of attractiveness for skilled workers and low market integration across EU countries.

The European Commission

A major EU-wide initiative, supporting EU food competitiveness is the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain. The Forum is an EU-wide platform, involving all actors along the chain, to discuss the main issues affecting the EU Food Sector from competitiveness to innovation, sustainability, creating value and fostering better trading relations.

Trade in processed agricultural products (PAPs)

The Commission manages the trade regime for processed agricultural products (PAPs) and works to improve the framework conditions for trade in PAPS by encouraging tariff dismantling and trade-friendly rules of origin, the standardisation of rules and the mutual recognition of food legislation with non-EU countries.

Competitiveness studies

The Commission funds several studies to help formulate policies that encourage the competitiveness of the food and drink industry in the EU.

More on Competitiveness studies

Legislation on PAPs

DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is responsible for all legislation governing the trade regime for processed agricultural products.

More on legislation on processed agricultural products

Other laws related to food

The Commission is working in the area of knowledge transfer, food innovation and research in the food area.