October 26, 2023
MacManus welcomes European Parliament endorsement of an EU Protein Strategy

MacManus welcomes European Parliament endorsement of an EU Protein Strategy

Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has welcomed a European Parliament vote on an EU Protein Strategy. “As the lead negotiator for my political group, I am pleased that MEPs have strongly endorsed this report on an EU Protein Strategy. The report anticipates the Protein Strategy that the Commission intends to launch in 2024, and highlights the need to increase the production of protein crops for food and animal feed within the EU. The report sends a strong signal to the European Commission to take this question of European protein production seriously.”

Speaking after a vote of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, MacManus continued, “Increasing protein production within the EU should decrease the EU’s dependence on imported proteins, which are often linked to deforestation, while bringing advantages to EU farming in terms of soil quality and new possibilities for the circular economy. But if we are to succeed increasing the EU’s protein production, this will all be down to the efforts of farmers. Farmers need to be at the heart of the Commission’s Protein Strategy, and they must be supported if they choose to move into the production of high-protein plants like legumes. CAP measures such as coupled support, agri-environmental schemes, advisory services and new sectoral measures are all options for boosting the profitability of plant proteins and supporting farmers in this endeavour.”

“I was pleased that the report highlights that the consumption of locally and sustainably produced animal proteins contributes to the EU’s food security and enhances the vitality of Europe’s rural areas. The text notes that extensive, pasture-based livestock production, particularly in remote and mountainous areas, is a highly sustainable activity and helps ensure that these areas remain populated. It calls on the Commission and Member States to make use of CAP tools, such as eco-schemes, to incentivise grassland-based farming.”

MacManus concluded, “At the same time, there also needs to be a focus on other sustainable protein production methods, with synergies between plant and animal proteins. For example, when plant proteins like legumes are produced for human food, the parts of the plants not used for human consumption can then be used for animal feed. Waste streams can also be used to produce biomethane and biofuels, which reduces dependence on fossil energy sources. All these measures can be used to decrease the EU’s dependency on imported proteins and improve the environmental and economic sustainability of Europe’s farming sectors. I call on the European Commission to take on board the recommendations of the European Parliament when developing the Protein Strategy next year.” ENDS

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