Most of the participants at the Citizens’ Dialogue in Modena were local stakeholders: local authorities, consumer associations and agro-food industry, farmers’ associations and consortia of typical products, academia and students of agricultural and food sciences.
As most of the people present were experts in the agri-food sector, the questions were mainly of a technical and scientific nature.
Financing opportunities for small and medium enterprises active in the field of agribusiness, protection of “Protected Designation of Origin” and “Indication of Geographic Protection” products, food safety, in particular of imported products, sustainable development of rural areas, use of new technologies in agriculture (mutagenesis and cisgenesis), and consequences of Brexit for food safety were discussed during the Dialogue.
Commissioner Andriukaitis also spoke about the future of Europe. He warned against the danger of rising populism and nationalism. We cannot disseminate hate and nationalism and quote Mussolini like some people do.
Democracy requires responsibility, mental openness, solidarity and joint forces and we should put in the first place European interests and not national ones.
The Commissioner also said that he believes in the possibility of building a more social Europe. “Social justice should be everywhere in Sicily and Lithuania.” “Let’s stay united,” he said as “only united we can solve many problems.”
He concluded that it is now time to put in practice the ideas of the EU’s founding fathers and invited everyone to read the Ventotenne Manifesto.