Following on from my speech on the importance of innovation and research in the agri-food sector last week, on Monday I visited Wageningen University in the Netherlands, one of the world's leading agriculture research institutes.
Like me, Wageningen believes the CAP makes a broad contribution to the wellbeing of European society, far beyond its core remit of food security. Indeed, it argues that it can and should do even more.
In her excellent paper " Towards a Common Agricultural and Food Policy," Wageningen Professor Louise Fresco argues that the CAP "must evolve into a Common Agricultural and Food Policy to develop a resilient and sustainable agriculture and food system that addresses the grand challenges of our times".
This mirrors the approach I have taken since becoming Commissioner. I believe that a modern, fit-for-purpose CAP must meet the requirements of an economic, environmental and social policy.
After Wageningen, I visited the region of North-Brabant in the Netherlands. North-Brabant was chosen as one of the European Regions of Gastronomy in 2018. Moreover, this region is a pioneer in bridging the gap between rural and urban areas; the five big cities of the region cooperate closely with the rural areas.
Bridging this gap is one of the priorities I have been pushing at European level. We need to build stronger linkages between urban and rural areas if we are to succeed in generating a truly bottom-up approach to building innovative and vibrant food systems. Citizens need to be aware of - and buy into the importance of - maintaining quality food production in Europe. Gastronomy, and a shared appreciation for good quality food and food production is an important step on that journey.
At the end of the week I was pleased to be in the country I know best, where I visited the Irish Parliament to provide an overview of the Commission's work programme for 2017 as well as discussing Brexit with Irish parliamentarians.
Farming and the broader agri-food sector continue to be an economic mainstay for Ireland, and the CAP is working hard to maintain that trajectory. Read my full speech to learn more.
Today, I gave a detailed speech on some of the potential impacts of Brexit for Ireland. This is a massively important topic for Ireland, being the only European country that physically borders the UK. My full speech is available here, and while I would caution that nothing is known at this point in time, I am urging all Irish policymakers and stakeholders to prepare for the various hypothetical scenarios.
With Louise Fresco from Wageningen University.
Addressing the Public Affairs Ireland Conference.