Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a commodity price surge and the Covid-19 pandemic have all posed a risk to food security around the world. While the resilience and self-sufficiency of the EU food system have ensured that the availability of food in the EU is not at risk, the Commission continues to take measures to prepare for and respond to potential threats to global food supply and food security.
The European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism (EFSCM) was established to improve cooperation between the public and private sectors and evaluate risks when crises arise.
A contingency plan for food supply and food security
As outlined in the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission has developed a contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security in times of crisis. The plan aims to ensure a sufficient and varied supply of safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food to citizens at all times.
The Commission published its Communication on the plan on 12 November 2021. It outlines areas for improvement that were identified during the Covid-19 pandemic, principles that should be adhered to in times of crisis, and the creation of a European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism (EFSCM).
The Commission is supporting Ukraine in developing and implementing a short and medium term food security strategy. It has also put together measures to support EU farmers most affected by higher input costs and the closure of export markets.
Key principle in preventing and tackling food crises in the EU
The lessons learned from various crises allow us to identify key principles to be followed to ensure food supply and food security when a crisis arises:
- a collaborative approach between all public and private parties that play a role in the food supply chain;
- horizontal coordination at political and administrative level, particularly when the crisis originates from factors outside the food supply chain, as was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine;
- monitoring of market imbalances and where necessary, swift intervention using available tools, such as those that exist under the CAP and the CFP;
- supply chains and trade flows remaining operational, including for non-food sectors that are essential to the functioning of the food supply chain;
- free movement of cross-border and seasonal workers in the food sector as much as possible;
- early, regular and transparent communication to stakeholders and the public to avoid the crisis being exacerbated through inappropriate information.
European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism (EFSCM)
To implement the principles outlined above, the Commission established the EFSCM, which relies on a dedicated group of experts and a set of rules and procedures governing its activities. Stakeholder organisations that play a role in the food supply chain, as well as certain non-EU countries with food supply chains that are highly integrated with the EU’s, were invited to contribute to improving cooperation between the public and private sectors. The Commission published a call for participation, which was open from 10 December 2021 to 4 February 2022.
The Commission convenes the group of experts periodically to improve levels of preparedness. The group may be convened in case of emergency or crisis without delay and as often as needed, to contribute to the response. The mechanism is triggered in case of exceptional, unpredictable and large-scale events or risks that have the potential to threaten EU food supply or security.
Outcomes of the EFSCM
The EFSCM adopted two recommendations on crisis communication and on diversity of sources of supply, which are part of a number of actions to be carried out to improve the EU preparedness. The outcomes of the work of the forum also include the creation of the Food supply and security dashboard.
Food supply and security dashboard
This dashboard features data to monitor and assess food supply and food security in the EU. It also includes external sources that serve as an alert system.
The Communication on the contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security in times of crisis presented the creation of this dashboard as one of the actions under the framework of the EFSCM.
Furthermore, results of bi-annual EU surveys among EFSCM members will be analysed and published. By gathering market intelligence and making assessments of causes, drivers, and events that impact the EU food supply and food security, the surveys intend to supplement the data in the food supply and security dashboard.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) recently published a study on risks and vulnerabilities affecting food supply and food security in the EU. It finds that the EU food supply chain faces a broad range of risks and sheds light on the factors that make it vulnerable to these risks.
Expert group members
The members of the EFSCM are listed hereunder and can be viewed by clicking on the categories below: EU countries, non-EU countries, organisations, observers. The list of members can also be found on the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities, which contains all relevant information and documents related to this expert group.
|Austria||Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism|
Directorate II 8 - Agricultural Value Chain and Nutrition
|Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism|
Directorate II 6 – Animal products (fisheries and aquaculture)
|Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection|
Abteilung III/9 - Krisenstab Veterinärwesen und Lebensmittelsicherheit
|Regional authorities responsible for agriculture: Flemish Government|
|Regional authorities responsible for agriculture: Wallonia|
|Bulgaria||Ministry of Agriculture of Bulgaria|
|Bulgarian Food Safety Agency|
|Croatia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Ministry of Agriculture|
|Ministry of Agriculture|
Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate
|Ministry of Agriculture|
Directorate for Fisheries
|Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development|
Commodity stock management
|Ministry of Health|
|Cyprus||Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment|
|Czechia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Denmark||Danish Veterinary and Food Administration|
|Danish Agricultural Agency|
|Estonia||Ministry of Rural Affairs|
|Finland||Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland|
|Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto)|
|France||Ministère de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation (MAA)|
Direction Générale de la Performance économique et environnementale des entreprises – DGPE
|Ministère de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation (MAA)|
Direction Générale de l’Alimentation – DGAL
|Germany||Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft BMEL (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture)|
|Greece||General Directorate of Food - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|General Directorate of Agriculture - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|General Directorate of Fisheries - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|Hungary||National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO)|
|County Government Office|
|Ireland||Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine|
|Italy||Ministero delle Politiche Agricole|
|Ministero della Salute|
|Latvia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Lithuania||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Luxembourg||Ministère de l'Agriculture, de la Viticulture et du Développement rural|
|Malta||Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights (MAFA)|
|Environmental Health Department|
|Netherlands||Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality|
|Poland||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Portugal||Ministry of Agriculture (MA) – GPP|
(Gabinete de Planeamento Políticas e Administração Geral)
Direção-Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária
|Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition|
ASAE – Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica
|MM – DGRM|
Direção Geral dos Recursos Marinhos
|Regional Direction of Agriculture of Autonomous Region of Azores|
For Ultraperiferic Regions
|Romania||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture|
|National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority - in the areas of health policy and food safety|
|Slovakia||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development of the Slovak republic|
|Slovenia||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food|
|Spain||General Secretariat for Agriculture and Food|
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
|General Secretariat for Fisheries|
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
|Sweden||Swedish Food Agency|
|Swedish Board of Agriculture|
|Albania||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Andorra||Government of Andorra|
Ministry of Health
Food Safety and Environment Health Area
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Food Safety Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Faroe Islands||Ministry of Environment, Industry and Trade|
|Iceland||The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries|
|The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority|
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
|Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAFRD) Department of Agricultural Policies and Markets|
|Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade|
|Kosovo Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Liechtenstein||Food and veterinary office Liechtenstein|
|Monaco||Direction de l'action sanitaire|
|Montenegro||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management|
|Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary affaires|
|North Macedonia||Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy|
|Norway||Royal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries|
|Ministry of Agriculture and Food|
|San Marino||UOS Sanità Veterinaria e Igiene Alimentare|
U.O.C. Sanità Pubblica - Dipartimento Prevenzione
|Serbia||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management|
|Ministry of Health|
|Switzerland||Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)|
|Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES)|
|Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)|
- Assemblée des Régions Européennes Fruitières, Légumières et Horticoles (AREFLH)
- Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC)
- CEMA - European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association (CEMA)
- Conseil Européen des Jeunes Agriculteurs (CEJA)
- Cooperativa de Armadores de Pesca del Puerto de Vigo, Sociedad Cooperativa Gallega Limitada (ARVI)
- EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA)
- European agri-cooperatives (COGECA)
- European Associations of Fish Processors and European Federation of National Organisations of Fish Importers and Exporters (AIPCE-CEP)
- European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)
- European Dairy Association aisbl (EDA)
- European farmers (COPA)
- European Flour Millers
- European Food Banks Federation (FEBA)
- European Liaison Committee for Agriculture and agri-food trade (celcaa)
- Euroseeds (Euroseeds)
- Fédération Européenne des Fabricants d'Aliments Composés (FEFAC)
- Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP)
- Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE)
- Fertilizers Europe
- FoodDrinkEurope (FoodDrinkEurope)
- Freshfel Europe - the forum for the European fresh fruits and vegetables chain (Freshfel)
- Independent Retail Europe (formerly UGAL - Union of Groups of Independent Retailers of Europe)
- Kraftverkehr Nagel SE & Co. KG (Nagel-Group)
- The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN)
- The EU Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry (FEDIOL)
- The International Institute of Refrigeration IIF-IIR
- Union Européenne du Commerce du Bétail et des Métiers de la Viande (U.E.C.B.V.)
- Unistock Europe - Association of Professional Portside Storekeepers in the Food and Feed Chain (UNISTOCK)
- VIER PFOTEN International (FOUR PAWS)
- AIBI aisbl – International Association of Plant Bakers (AIBI)
- Comité du commerce des céréales, aliments du bétail, oléagineux, huile d'olive, huiles et graisses et agrofournitures de l'U.E. (COCERAL)
- CropLife Europe
- European Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade (AVEC)
- European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
- European Cold Storage and Logistics Association (ECSLA)
- European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB)
- European free trade Association (EFTA)
- European Producers Union of Renewable Ethanol (ePURE)
- Fédération Européenne pour la Santé Animale et la Sécurité Sanitaire (FESASS)
- Federation of European Tank Storage Associations (FETSA)
- International Road Transport Union Permanent Delegation to the EU (IRU)
- World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM)
Expert group meetings
- 9 March 2022: 1st ad-hoc meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 23 March 2022: 1st regular meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 4 May 2022: 2nd ad hoc meeting of the Expert group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 31 May 2022: Subgroup 'Dashboard for the monitoring of food supply and food security' – 1st meeting
- 27 June 2022: Subgroup ‘Improving the diversity of sources of supply’ – 1st meeting
- 18 July 2022: Subgroup 'Dashboard for the monitoring of food supply and food security' – 2nd meeting
- 23 September 2022: 3rd ad-hoc meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 14 October 2022: Subgroup 'Improving the diversity of sources of supply' – 2nd meeting
- 24 October 2022: Subgroup 'Dashboard for the monitoring of food supply and security' – 3rd meeting
- 14 November 2022: Extraordinary meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism on drivers of food security
- 15 December 2022: Subgroup 'Crisis communication on food supply and food security – 1st meeting
- 30 January 2023: Subgroup ‘Improving the diversity of sources of supply’ – 3rd meeting
- 28 February 2023: Subgroup ‘Crisis communication on food supply and food security – 2nd meeting
- 17 March 2023: Subgroup ‘Improving the diversity of sources of supply’ – 4th meeting
- 30 March 2023: Subgroup ‘Crisis communication on food supply and food security – 3rd meeting
- 28 April 2023: 2nd regular meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
EU food supply and food security – contingency plan roadmap
As per the initiative’s roadmap, the Commission conducted an analysis, which formed the basis for a staff working document that was published alongside the Communication on 12 November 2021. Other supporting documents, including the Decision and Synopsis, were also published alongside it.
A stakeholder consultation sought feedback from all stakeholders in the food system on the potential configuration, scope and goals of an EU food crisis response mechanism. It ran from 1 March to 3 May 2021.
Expert Group for Agricultural Markets meetings
The Commission organised meetings within an expert group that included EU countries and food system stakeholders, as well as non-EU country participants. The relevant documentation per topic was published after each meeting.
- 20 January 2021: What are the lessons learnt from COVID-19 and other crises with regard to food security in the EU?
- 25 February 2021: What are the threats to EU food security?
- 26 March 2021: How are the EU, Member states, non-EU countries and international organisations prepared to handle crises?
- 21 April 2021: How are companies in the EU food system prepared to handle crises?
- 20 May 2021: Academic workshop organised in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre; JRC Conference and workshop report – Contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security
- 16 June 2021: How to best organise a coordinated approach?
- 15 July 2021: Outline of the main elements of a Contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security in times of crises
The details of the consultation process are included in the consultation strategy for this initiative.