In a statement to the Commission, MEPs have demanded answers from the EU over what they called an “unacceptable” use of money. Lega MEPs revealed the EU had sent €2million (£1.6million) in funding from the €50.6billion (£42.6billion) Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the territories of Europe (REACT-EU) to two Dutch companies. Nutreco and Mosa, were the two companies that received the money.
In a statement, the Italian group of MEPs demanded urgent answers from the Commission.
They said in a statement: “It is unacceptable that Brussels is investing millions of euros of European citizens’ money in meat produced in laboratories. We demand clarity.
“The news of EU funding of €2million to Dutch company Mosa Meat through the React EU programme – as part of the Recovery Fund – for a project aimed at ‘reducing the costs of growing beef’, specifically ‘for research to reduce the costs of cell culture media’ is of great concern to us.
“This is the Europe of Nutriscore and Farm to Fork, where funding, instead of being directed towards protecting European food and recovering the economy after the pandemic crisis, goes to initiatives that have nothing to do with the post-Covid recovery.
“We have submitted a question to the European Commission asking for an explanation of the criteria used to fund the project through the React EU programme.
“How is it possible that the EU arbitrarily defines synthetic ‘meat farming’ as sustainable while ignoring the general impact that ultra-processed products like this have, unlike real meat and traditional products?”
Lega Nord MEP Elena Lizzi, also claimed the money from the REACTt-EU fund should be earmarked for traditional production to aid economies.
She criticised the EU for allowing the money to be sent to the two Dutch companies while the farming system has been left reeling from the pandemic.
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Ms Lizzi said: “The programme will fund research and development to achieve the best combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals by promoting the natural growth of muscle cells, taken from a cow.
“The aim of this marketing operation is to make meat production more commercially viable in European markets, thus competing with local and traditional production.
“I believe that funding from the React-EU fund should be earmarked for traditional production and, consequently, for safeguarding jobs at risk in the industry.
“I have asked the Commission how it intends to protect Europe’s livestock farming system, which has already been hit hard by the fallout from the pandemic, from unfair competition from in-vitro meat.”
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Giorgio Maria Bergesio, leader of the Lega group in the Agriculture Commission also claimed the money should go towards fighting Covid.
He said: “It is unacceptable that the European Union should finance the private production of test-tube ‘meat’ with public resources, among other things to fight Covid.
“The livestock sector is fundamental for preserving the territory, its traditions and our culture, because it creates work, the only way to combat depopulation and the degradation of our valleys.”
The REACT-EU fund extends the measures set out in the EU’s Covid recovery package.
The programme supports investment in green and digital projects across the continent.
Despite some of the criticism aimed at the Commission, it is thought laboratory-grown meat could have significant environmental impacts.
Indeed, animal agriculture accounts for more than 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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