In anticipation of the upcoming European summit, March 19th through 20th, which is supposed to assert the European position in response to the crisis before the G20 in April, the European Commission has released a statement entitled “Driving European recovery”1 , in which it restates its wishes for a swift conclusion of the Doha cycle. In its address to the heads of state and governments of the twenty-seven countries, the Commission revealed that it believes it is fundamental to “promoting open trade as a complement to the fiscal stimulus”. With this in mind, the commission added, “an early conclusion of the Doha round on the basis of the existing negotiating texts on agriculture and industrial goods is key”.
Consequently, the document calls the European countries who are “G-20 partners [to] express their collective determination and implement this commitment at the highest political level”, in order to “reaffirm a strong common stance against protectionism, in line with the standstill commitment agreed at Washington2 and the effective monitoring mechanism established under the WTO.”
By taking this stance, the European Commission is once again giving in to the dominating mode of thinking, which leaves it so blinded by the fear of protectionism, it refuses to acknowledge the dramatic consequences of the Doha cycle on world food safety. Yet in these times of crisis, it is more necessary than ever to adopt a mid- to long-term vision, instead of a short-term one. Nowadays more than ever before, the international community cannot afford the luxury of seeing a new food crisis superpose itself on the economic crisis.
1 Statement given to the spring European Council, COM (2009) 114 final, 4th March 2009 http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/president/pdf/press_20090304_en.pdf
2 Note: during the last G20 summit, 15th November 2008