I wonder why 100% of cows in Croatia are vaccinated but only 10% of people. I am vaccinated – this means I protect your life and the life of my family.
On 3 February 2017, at the end of his two-day visit to Croatia, Commissioner Andriukaitis hosted a Citizens’ Dialogue with the Croatian Minister for Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić, in front of an audience of about 230 people from Zagreb and other regions of Croatia.
At the start of the event, only 30% of people in the room felt that their opinions were being heard by the EU whilst at the end of the lively debate, 85% of the audience felt that they now knew more about the EU.
Commissioner Andriukaitis made it clear that Croatia needed to work harder to help prevent premature death due to consumption of unhealthy food, alcohol and tobacco. He called for a diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh milk which is already available in schools and kindergartens. The ensuing debate focused mainly on health policy and, in particular, on consumer protection issues which are currently a hot topic in the country following the discovery of salmonella in certain food products.
Many participants asked whether European food monitoring systems work well. The Commissioner replied that not only are the hygiene and safety standards effective, but the EU is a trailblazer for hygiene and food safety standards worldwide. The Commissioner reminded the audience that the provision of good, healthy, high-quality food reflects well on a country and helps to make it more attractive as a tourist destination.
Following on from this, he also addressed a number of questions on TTIP, CETA and other trade agreements.
The second part of the discussion focused on the refugee crisis and the emergence of a new geopolitical situation. While participants asked how the EU could improve the situation in the Member States with regard to the arrival of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa, Commissioner Andriukaitis said that it was a situation where European values and European solidarity had to be clearly put into practice and prove their real substance.