The European Union on your plate
Do you know why I particularly like Europe? The food of course! As a French national, I was born with a piece of cheese in my hand (it was still a bit early for a glass of red wine). But you know what's great about Europe? In addition to our delicious French cuisine, we can discover a multitude of dishes from other EU countries thanks to agreements on the free movement of goods, people, services and capital. And all this with similar safety standards! Isn't that great?
Currywurst in Berlin, goulash in Budapest, sauerkraut in Strasbourg, pizza in Rome, waffles in Brussels, a paella in Madrid, pastel de nata in Lisbon, Irish strew in Dublin... And why not at the restaurant on the corner of your street or on your sofa watching a good show?
I'm making myself hungry just by writing these lines.
Cooking is a testament to our cultural differences, but it's so unifying at the same time.
How the single market changed our taste buds
We all love cooking or enjoy good local dishes of which we feel proud. But we also like to discover and learn from our neighbours. Thanks to the free movement of goods, food is no longer subject to customs duties or taxes on the European market. We can therefore find food from the 28 Member States that exchange goods between them without any additional cost or quantity limit. So you can find Belgian chocolate, French camembert, or Finnish salmon all over Europe, and that's nice (however, the mixture of the three is not highly recommended).
Plus, I love going directly to a country and trying dishes that are only available locally. The free movement of persons allows European citizens to move from one EU country to another to travel, study, work, etc. In 1995, the Schengen area abolished the physical borders between the signatory countries making things much much easier. Thanks to this measure, you can come by and have a very fresh macaroon in Paris anytime you want and without border checks!
Finally, the free movement of services allows a Slovenian restaurant owner to open a restaurant in Zagreb without any problems, for example. In addition, the free movement of capital allows our restaurateur to be able to transfer financial goods from one country to another without national restrictions.
What about food security in all this?
Don't panic, no one wants to get sick at home or elsewhere and European citizens need to be informed about the origin, quality and nutritional value of a product. The EU has one of the strictest food laws in the world. In 2000, the European Commission adopted the "White Paper on Food Safety", which includes the precautionary principle, product traceability and transparency for consumers. In addition, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the RASFF rapid alert system makes it possible to check, control and act on everything that will be on our plates. Finally, many awareness and prevention programmes, such as the FOOD campaign, exist to combat malnutrition and promote a healthy and varied diet.
The European Union is therefore also acting on your plate! Going out to vote on 23-26 May will also have an influence on the way you enjoy food in the years to come.