Politics & Law

EU Election Guide Finds High Levels of Support for Plant-Based Policies After Surveying 50+ Political Parties

With European elections scheduled to take place from June 6-9, The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) has surveyed over 50 political parties across Europe to determine their stance on plant-based policies. Said to be the largest survey of its kind, the results have been published in a document titled Plant-Based Politics: The 2024 EU Election Guide.

Europarties and national political parties from several EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, and Spain) were given a questionnaire based on the policy recommendations made in the EVU’s Plant-Based Manifesto. The survey included questions about financial incentives, health and environmental issues, subsidies, and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Overall, the results indicate that political support for the EVU’s suggested policies is high. The most popular policy involves implementing binding targets to improve the environmental and climate impact of the CAP or its National Strategic Plans; 78.7% of parties support this. This is followed by introducing a “polluter pays” principle in the agriculture sector, which is supported by 68.9% of parties. The third most popular policy is implementing binding targets to improve human health in the CAP or its National Strategic Plans, which has 65.6% support.

The policies with the highest rejection rate are the mandatory inclusion of a daily plant-based meal in all public canteens and a lower VAT rate for plant-based foods than for animal products; both were rejected by 26.2% of parties. The implementation of EU binding targets to increase plant protein consumption was rejected by 23% of respondents.

EU election guide
© European Vegetarian Union

“Crucial tool”

Of the 16 questions, only six showed approval rates below 50%. But for ten of the questions, 30% or more of parties said they had “no position”, suggesting more political discussion of the issues is needed. Notably, very few parties (13.1%) opposed the use of terms such as “plant-based sausage” or “soy milk”, indicating that the majority do not support introducing restrictions on the marketing of plant-based products. Furthermore, only 6.6% of parties opposed the inclusion of plant-based milks in the EU School Scheme.

The national parties with the highest alignment with the EVU manifesto were Parti Animaliste and Parti Equitable in France, along with Partido Animalista con el Medio Ambiente (PCMA) in Spain. All three agreed with 100% of the policies. Zeleni in Czechia and the Danish Red-Green Alliance did not have a position for one of the recommendations, but agreed with all the others.

Of the Europarties, Volt had the highest alignment at 16 affirmative answers, followed by the European Green Party (13 affirmative answers and 3 with no position). The Europarties with the lowest alignment were the ECPM (1 affirmative, 7 negative, and 8 no position) and ALDE (2 affirmative and 14 no position).

Plant-based Politics: the 2024 EU Election Guide aims to provide voters, stakeholders, and policymakers with a clearer understanding of the political landscape regarding plant-based policy solutions,” says the EVU. “By highlighting areas of political consensus as well as topics that are not yet widely addressed, this report serves as a crucial tool for informed decision-making. The comprehensive survey results enable a better grasp of where various political parties stand, in turn making for more informed and effective advocacy for sustainable food policies across Europe.”

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