The expansion of the European Union has had a profound impact at all levels for the new Member States as well as for the future Candidate Countries. This impact has even been felt at the level of total food production chain. This is because all countries involved have recognised the importance of the economic and political opportunities which will emerge through the integration of the Central and Eastern European countries into the single European Market.
In recent years the food processors in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have been struggling for their very survival. The industry has been facing intense pressure in their traditional markets as they face increased competition from developed market economies as well as rapidly shrinking household incomes which are adversely affecting their margins.
Parallel to this, these countries have had to upgrade their food industries in order to meet the EU's strict phytosanitary, veterinary and hygiene standards. These upgrades are colossal undertakings even at the best of times and require huge investments as well as knowledge capital. However, thanks to support from the EU, major progress has been made to the core food processors of these countries with many standards already being met, and those outstanding to be met in the near future. Fresh from these successes, the process is being repeated in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. Experts are being invited to deal with a variety of challenges currently faced in all six countries. These challenges involve achieving economies of scale with new technologies as opposed to technological advances in small scale, specialised production.
Key to the success of the project is free ranging dialogue among decision-makers and all major stakeholders in all the countries involved. As a result of which it hoped that awareness of the importance of food quality and safety will be increased at all levels including industry, government and consumers.
Following an initial kick-off meeting, numerous workshops have been scheduled. Participants are encouraged to identify the major drivers in their industry, be it social, economic, technological, environmental or political, from which a map of the industry can be created and a way forward developed.
The project utilises a methodology which uses a variety of tools which are then linked together to achieve the overall goals. The findings and key results will be integrated into the policy recommendations for the future of the food industry in the Central and Eastern European countries.
FUTUREFOOD6 assists the total food chain in Central and Eastern European countries and helps them achieve international food quality and safety standards. These standards will assist them in fully integrating with the EU and other international markets. Integration with the EU market will not only further enhance European competitiveness but will also maintain the reputation of safety, diversity, sophistication and high quality products with which the EU food industry is already synonymous.
List of Partners
- United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (International Organisation)
- Fundación Observatorio de Prospectiva Tecnológica Industrial (Spain)
- The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (Austria)
- Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary)
- Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences CR (Czech Republic)
- BIC Group (Slovakia)
- National Wholesale Market Company Inc (Croatia)
- Executive Agency for Higher Education and Research Funding (Romania)
- Applied Research and Communications Fund (Bulgaria)
- Full title:
- Healthy and safe food for the future - a technology foresight project in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Dr Ricardo Seidl da Fonseca,
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Dirk Pottier,
- EU contribution:
- € 724,929
- Specific Support Action