2020 European Organic Congress


Organic in action

• The European Organic Action Plan • The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy • From Farm to Fork Strategy

The European Organic Congress 2020 went digital!

The European Organic Congress provided a platform where policy-makers and expert speakers updated our guests about the latest policy developments and discussed our vision for a post-pandemic Europe. The topics covered included the EU Organic Regulation, an Organic Action Plan, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Farm to Fork Strategy as well as the possible impact of COVID-19 on our food and farming system.

EOC2020 programme, presentations & recordings



Welcome & Opening

Opening speeches by (live/video):
– Julia Klöckner, German Minister for Food and Agriculture (video)
– Felix Prinz Zu Löwenstein, Chairman, BÖLW
– Jan Plagge, President, IFOAM Organics Europe


Organic in Action – get inspired!

This session shows leading examples on how to transform food and farming.

Pecha kucha presentations:
– Anu Arolaakso, Project Manager, Savo Consortium for Education – “Step by step towards organic in Finnish food services”
– François Jégou, Lead Expert, BioCanteens Network – “URBACT Biocanteens: From the organic canteen to the territorial Food projects all over Europe


New EU Organic Regulation: Are you ready for it?

Announced at the end of 2011, after a long and challenging process of revision, the new EU Organic Regulation (EU) 2018/848 was published in June 2018.
Since then, the Commission and the Member States have been developing the secondary legislation, that is 15-18 additional legal acts which will integrate the text published in 2018. The new EU Organic Regulation will apply from 1 January 2021, even if there are currently proposals to postpone such date to 1 January 2022. This session aims at informing the organic movement sector and the actors of the control system about the main regulatory changes expected.

– Nicolas Verlet, Head of Unit Organics, DG Agriculture and Rural development, European Commission
– Marian Blom, IFOAM Organics Europe/Bionext
– Georg Eckert, President, European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC)
– Michel Reynaud, Vice President, Ecocert
Moderator: Emanuele Busacca, Regulation Manager, IFOAM Organics Europe


25% Organic land by 2030: How can the CAP contribute?

The new CAP is characterized by a ‘New Delivery Model’, which should balance environmental ambitions with a flexible and robust results-based framework. It will move to a decentralized system that gives more power to countries and regions to design their measures according to their specific needs. Moreover, new instruments such as eco-schemes in the first pillar could create incentives for farmers deliver public goods. At the same time, budget of the second pillar (on rural development) could be severely cut, which probably have an impact on conversion and maintenance aids.

The ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy for sustainable food is looking at how the agri-food sector can improve the sustainability of food production across the food chain, including through organic production and organic public procurement. One of the promising elements of the Farm to Fork Strategy is an ambitious target for increasing organic land by 2030.

The objective of this session is to discuss the possible interactions between current CAP negotiations, and especially the Strategic Plans Regulations, and the ambitions of the Farm to Fork Strategy. How can it be ensured that the new CAP will reflect the ambitions of the European Green Deal?

Opening speech:
– Wolfgang Burtscher, Director General for Agriculture and Rural development, European Commission

Panel discussion:
– Walter Dübner, Head of Division Agricultural Production and Horticulture, German Ministry of Food and Agriculture
– Norbert Lins, MEP and chair of Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
– Jan Plagge, President, Bioland/ IFOAM EU
Moderator: Eduardo Cuoco, Director, IFOAM Organics Europe

Following the session – additional video presentation: – Jürn Sanders, Senior Researcher, Thünen Institute – “20 percent are possible – Lessons learnt from the German Federal Organic Action Plan”


Organic in action: The power of a good plan

In October 2019, the European Commission pledged to submit a European Action plan to promote organic farming that would contribute to a more sustainable EU food system. The objective of this session is to identify what worked in the current organic action plan, what did not, and, in the light of this, to identify what is needed for the next organic action plan. Also, this session will look into best practices at the level of national organic action plans and see how this knowledge can feed into the next European organic action plan.

Introduction talks:
– Nathalie Sauze-Vandevyver, General Director, DG Agriculture and Rural development, European Commission
– Thomas Fertl, IFOAM Organics Europe/Bio Austria
Moderation: Peter Röhrig, CEO, BÖLW

3 Breakout sessions: How organic action plans could be a powerful tool…

…to make food production resilient?
– Ylva Sjelin, organic farmer, Hånsta Östergärde (Sweden)
– Fiona Marty, European Policy Officer, Fédération Nationale d’Agriculture Biologique (FNAB) (France)
Moderator: Dr. Alexander Gerber, chair for farming, BÖLW

…to promote organic conversion through more organic demand?
– Chiara Faenza, CSR Manager, Coop Italia (Italy)
– Paul Holmbeck, Holmbeck EcoConsult (Denmark)
Moderator: Lukas Nossol, Member of the Interest Group on Organic Retail , IFOAM Organics Europe/ Denree

…to strengthen the organic value chains?
– Janis Garancs, Managing Director, Aloja Starkelsen (Latvia)
– Marja-Riitta Kottila, Director, Organic Food Association Pro Luomu (Finland)
Moderator: Dr. Alexander Beck, chairman of Assoziation ökologischer Lebensmittelhersteller (AöL)


Closing debate: European agriculture and resilient food systems in a post-COVID-19 world

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the crucial role that farmers, farm workers, processors, retailers and food workers play to deliver essential goods to people, and the need to better value these actions. It also highlights the fragility of our current food system, deeply interconnected at the international level. Long production chains are highly vulnerable to travel and transport restrictions and to fluctuations in markets. This vulnerability to pandemics and lock downs adds to the vulnerability of our food system to climate change. It is time to collectively discuss how to make our food production more resilient, through diversity and agroecology, and better rooted at the local level through shorter supply chains. We should also discuss how to lessen the impact of food production on biodiversity and habitats destruction, and how to make intensive livestock production less susceptible to contribute to new zoonoses. This session aims to discuss what lessons we should learn from the virus, how European agriculture should evolve after the crisis and what policymakers could do to build a more sustainable and more resilient European food system. We will also discuss the European Commission’s Recovery Plan for a post Covid-19 world and the European Green Deal.

Opening speech:
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, European Commission (Video)

Panel discussion:
– Tassos Haniotis, Director of Strategy, Simplification and Policy Analysis, DG Agriculture, European Commission
– Thomas Waitz, MEP, Co-Chair, European Green Party
– Olivier de Schutter, Co-chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)
– Sarah Compson, IFOAM EU/Soil Association
– Sebastian Treyer, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)
Moderation: Eric Gall, Policy Manager/Deputy Director, IFOAM Organics Europe

Organised by: