Join the Proposed ELI SIG on Food and Farm Law


The ELI Secretariat is currently collecting expressions of interest by its Members to join a newly proposed SIG dealing with food and farm law.

2020–2030 will witness massive changes in the way food is produced and consumed. Change is being forced on us by the need to make the food chain sustainable while guaranteeing food security for all Europeans in the European Union and in wider Europe. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the heartland of the original European Economic Community; food policy has boomed since the 1990s. Now food and farm policies are fundamentally challenged by the need to match the United Nations sustainability goals and the European Union’s ‘Green Deal’ policy. These factors alone make it worthwhile to make space for food and farm law in ELI’s spectrum of activities.

The SIG’s initiator, Jens Karsten, believes that the SIG could contribute to the 2020–2022 ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’ by looking at the basis in primary law of both the CAP and food policy. The law of the Treaties may need to evolve in order to match current needs, for instance, where ownership and acquisition of agricultural land is concerned and conventional views of the free movement of capital clash with more communal views of arable lands as communal commodities. The SIG could put down a marker by working towards a position paper to be finalised in the current year. The initiator also believes that a close look at the rules on intellectual property in the agro-food chain is warranted (patents on life, breeders’ rights, trade secrets, geographical indications as well as ownership of data). Eventually, the private law relationships in the food chain could become the focus of closer examination. Either could become the topic of work directed at elaborating model rules.

The subjects potentially covered by the SIG run along four strands: food constitutional law, property and lease of means of primary production, intellectual property in the agro-food chain, and food private law. While each of these topics include potentially large areas of law, the SIG will concentrate on where its work could be of the most immediate relevance for European legislators.

The initiator hopes to align the work of the SIG with the Belgio-Luxembourg Hub’s activities.

Considering that food and farm law is a completely new area for ELI, the initiator hopes that it will attract new members with relevant expertise as well as existing members with special knowledge on constitutional and intellectual property law.

ELI Members interested in joining this SIG are kindly requested to contact the ELI Secretariat.