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Hybrid Event: Beekeeping, an agricultural sector under threat

Updated: May 23, 2023




Join us on Tuesday, 23 May 2023, from 16:00 to 18:00 CEST, for a hybrid event hosted by MEPs Juozas Olekas and Franc Bogovič. The event will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels, Room ASP 3H1, and online. The event aims to shed light on the beekeeping sector's significant challenges, such as unsustainable colony losses and a drastic decrease in production due to climate change. The market and fraud situation will be discussed, along with the results of the EU coordinated action "From the hives." Young professional beekeepers and packers with quality and traceability systems will share their experiences from the field. The round table will feature high-level panellists, including MEPs, EU Presidency and Commission representatives, consumer demands, and beekeepers. The event will end with closing remarks from either M. Bogovič or M. Olekas (TBC), followed by the exhibition "Bees Know no Borders" and a cocktail. Register here for physical or online event participation before 16 May. The event is supported by B-THENET, a European project promoting sustainable beekeeping and stakeholder interactions.





Background


For years, the beekeeping sector has been facing significant challenges. Not only have beekeepers been experiencing unsustainable colony losses due to environmental hazards, but climate change has also led to a drastic decrease in production. Unfortunately, consumers and civil society have been unaware of these issues since affordable or cheap honey has been readily available on supermarket shelves. As a result, European beekeepers have been unable to meet the demands, prompting leading importers like Ukraine and China to supply honey to the European market. However, a recent study conducted by the European Commission revealed that 32% of the honey sold in the EU was either "not in compliance or under suspicion."


Shockingly, the latest EU coordinated action, "From the hives," published in March 2023, reported that this number has increased to 46%! In 2018, the Erdos report highlighted the pressing situation and made recommendations, including full transparency on the labelling of the origins of blended honey. Consumers have the right to know where their honey comes from. Currently, labelling can indicate that the honey is a "blend of EU and non-EU countries," which is akin to saying that the honey comes from Earth.


The European beekeepers can no longer cope with unfair competition in the international market, where the commercialization of dubious products drops prices to an unrealistic level. However, the solutions to tackle this massive fraud are known and must be implemented in the upcoming revision of the EU Honey Directive (April 2023). In April 2023, the European Commission proposed revising the so-called Honey Directive. The published text will be discussed and negotiated between the Parliament and the Council. During this workshop, the results of the EU action "From the hives" will be presented, and beekeepers and economic operators will share their experiences from the fields, expressing their difficulties, demands, and proposals for a sustainable beekeeping sector in Europe. An institutional debate will follow to explore avenues for solving the problem of consumers and beekeepers. This critical issue concerns everyone, including European environmental NGOs, beekeepers, consumer associations, local and EU-level politicians, and citizens.


Tuesday 23 May 2023, 16:00 – 18:00 CEST

European Parliament, Brussels, Room ASP 3H1 & online

Hybrid event hosted by

MEPs Juozas Olekas and Franc Bogovič



REGISTRATION PAGES:



DRAFT AGENDA:

16:00 Introduction

  • Parliamentary introduction - MEP Jouzas OLEKAS

  • Beekeeping and its importance in a more global context - Etienne BRUNEAU

16:10 - 16:50 Market & Fraud situation

  • Market aspects and Honey Directive - COMMISSION DG AGRI - Pierre BASCOU

  • Results of the EU coordinated action “From the hives” - COMMISSION DG HEALTH (Anti-Fraud Unit) - Ghislain MARECHAL

  • The problem of non-validated methods to be used and interest of a reference centre - JRC - Lourdes ALVARELLOS

Q&A


16:50 - 17:15 Experience from the sector

  • The problem of an operator working on European and imported honey-packer with quality and traceability system – France Miel (France) - Fraçois PEYRAC

  • Professional beekeeper(s) - Kestutis GARALEVICIUS (Lithuania); Ingrid SCHMARANZER (Austria)

Q&A


17:15 - 17:55 - High-Level Panel for Solutions - Round Table

  • MEP Irène TOLLERET

  • EU Presidency - (TBC)

  • Commission – Pierre BASCOU, DG Agriculture

  • Commission - Ghislain MARECHAL, DG Health

  • Consumer demands – Ingrid KRAGL, Foodwatch

  • Beekeepers - Stan JAS, Copa-Cogeca

17:55 - Closing remarks - M. BOGOVIC or M. OLEKAS


18:00 - Social event: “Bees know no borders” exhibition at Spinelli 3rd Floor Distribution Centre Area - 3D

18:30 Cocktail


The event benefits from the support of B-THENET, a European project supporting the beekeeping sector and promoting the interactions between stakeholders to foster sustainable beekeeping.


Supported by B-THENET














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