"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

European Parliament Votes Resolution "On Rising Food Prices in the EU and the Developing Countries"

In a non-binding resolution, by a 485-52 (7 abstentions) vote, the European Parliament (EP) formulated on May 22, its recommendations to solve the world food crisis.

Even if still mixed up with some free trade and green ideology, the resolution clearly reflects the impact of Helga Zepp-LaRouche's call and our overall mobilization to return to massive investment in agriculture and scrap overinvestment in biofuels.

The next day, British EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson was ridiculing the very idea of food security in the May 23 International Herald Tribune, while the resolution itself staunchly "takes the view that countries must have the right to food sovereignty and food security, and that they are entitled to protect their markets." The resolution echoes the concerns of the Belgian Socialist Party which earlier this month proposed national legislation to outlaw financial products based on rising food prices, in the wake of Belgium-based KBC Assurance's proffer in February of a hedge fund product that boasted just that speculation. The resolution states the EP "is concerned by the effects of speculation in food commodities, including commodity hedge funds, on hunger and poverty; invites the Commission to analyze the effect of speculation on food prices and to come up with appropriate measures." Noteworthy is also the fact that the EP wonders if the EU's cereal reserves, presumably at a 30 day capacity "are at the right level"?

Here are some quotes of the official EP's communiqué summarizing the resolution. (Emphasis added.):

"The EP reaffirms the right to food and the need to improve access for all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Two billion people still live in dire poverty and 850 million human beings are hungry daily; "

"[The EP considers] that priority should be given to {investment in agriculture}}, aquaculture, rural development and agribusiness in developing countries."

"Priority needs to be given to {food over fuels} and biofuel production should be linked to strong sustainability criteria. The House accepts that {EU subsidization of crops intended for biofuel production is no longer justified}, but emphasizes that only 2-3% of EU agricultural land is currently being used for this kind of production and media reports blaming biofuels for the current food crisis are exaggerated as far as the EU is concerned."

"Fairer international trade rules and an assessment of the {effects of speculation on food prices} are also underlined by MEPs" (Members of the European Parliament);

"Small farmers in poor countries, who are mainly women, need to have access to land, financial services and credit, {high-yield seeds, irrigation systems and fertilizers}, says the resolution.

"MEPs call on the European Investment Bank (EIB) to investigate possibilities for the immediate setting up of a {guarantee fund} in support of national micro-credit and loan schemes and risk-hedging schemes that operate close to the needs of local food producers."

"The European Council [ministers] should step up its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by adopting an EU MDG Agenda for Action at the June European Council. The House invites the Commission to analyze the effect of speculation on food prices and to come up with appropriate measures.

"Analyzing the discrepancies between farmgate prices and those charged by the major retailers should be done by Commission and the Member States. An impact assessment of the role of retailers in the food chain, as retail food prices is also called by MEPs.

"The current {EU cereal stocks would last only 30 days}, and questions {whether our food stocks are at the right level}, says the resolution which calls for better forecasting of agricultural output.

"The current crisis demands an immediate and thorough discussion among the EU institutions and the Member States on the role that modern biotechnology can play in ensuring the continued production of food at reasonable prices, says the resolution."

"EU Member States and the international community are asked to meet the extraordinary emergency appeal of the World Food Program to assist it in facing up to the new challenges in the fight against hunger."

The full resolution is available here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP// TEXT+TA+P6-TA-2008-0229+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN