Europe ‘too dependent’ on Russian gas says von der Leyen
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The Commission is seeking to prohibit the promotion of red meat and wine as part of an anti-cancer plan – which it described as “a main priority in the area of health” for Ursula von der Leyen, its President. However, Hungary has reportedly called the plan “unacceptable”.
It comes as Hungary and Poland lost a recent European Court of Justice battle over a new European Commission mechanism to withhold EU funds from member states deemed to be democratically backsliding.
The mechanism was introduced by the European Parliament as it saw the Governments of Poland and Hungary as making their societies less open and progressive.
However, it can only be activated if there is a clear risk of misuse of EU money due to such violations.
Ms Von der Leyen has previously indicated that she would be willing to activate the mechanism, but was awaiting an ECJ ruling on the legality of the tool.
It is currently also fining Poland for failing to reverse a Constitutional Tribunal ruling that Polish law has primacy over EU law.
Speaking to media in Belgium on Monday, Zsolt Feldman, state secretary of the Hungarian agriculture ministry, called the health push “unacceptable”.
According to RT, he told reporters that the European Commission was “not seeking solutions”.
Mr Feldman went on to claim that restricting the promotion of red meat and wine “will not promote healthy lifestyles or sustainability”.
The diplomat said that individual member states should be able to “shape their own dietary habits without artificial methods invented by bureaucrats in Brussels”.
He added that the EU “has more and more initiatives based on ideologies rather than supported by impact studies.”
Mr Feldman said that Hungary was not alone in its dislike of the proposal; 19 more member states were having issues with it.
RT reported that Charlie McConalogue, the agricultural minister for Ireland – which trades billions of pounds of its beef globally – had intimated that he was unhappy with the plan.
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In a letter to Janusz Wojciechowski, the EU Agriculture Commissioner, he is said to have written that he was “disappointed” by the European Commission attempts to “demonise” red meat.
Mr McConalogue continued: “Red meat and processed meat products have an important role, in appropriate servings, as a source of protein, vitamins and minerals in a healthy, balanced diet.”
Mr Feldman reportedly said that the European Commission’s plan would backfire with “food production being shifted to third countries, jeopardizing the security of supplies to the EU.”
As well as seeking to lessen consumption of red meat and alcohol consumption, it is also looking to see that less than 5 percent of the EU population uses tobacco by 2040.
It also wants to prevent cancers caused by infection by raising the rate of vaccination of girls to “at least” 90 percent by 2030, and to “significantly increase” immunisation of boys.
Announcing the plan at the start of the month, Ms Von der Leyen said: “In 2020, while we were all fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were fighting a silent battle. The battle against cancer.
“In 2020, we lost 1.3 million Europeans to this disease. And sadly, the number of cases is on the rise.
“This is why we present Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan today. The fight of those battling cancer is our fight as well, in Europe.”
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