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January 17, 2019

International Green Week Opening Ceremony on 17 January 2019 at 6 p.m. - Welcoming Address by Dr. Wolfgang Ingold, Chairman of BVE


Deputies, State Secretaries, Commissioners,

Your Excellencies and Guests from around the world,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, I also welcome you to this year’s International Green Week.


Now taking place for the 84th time, the IGW has become an institution for the food industry and agriculture around the world

- the IGW is a trade show that presents the diversity of the international food market not only to the professionals but also to consumers, encompassing the entire food chain from the field to the plate.


2. Food production strengthens Europe

- today and in the future, both regionally and globally, food production is one of the most important sectors of the economy

- working together, everyday, agriculture and the food industry safeguard not only our basis for life but also employment and prosperity


- this industry is of prime importance, especially for Europe

- consequently the food industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in Europe

- no other industry can match it in terms of the added value and employment that it provides

- and agriculture and the food industry also contribute a massive 50% to the foreign trade surplus of the EU

- and so, thanks to its highly efficient agriculture and food industries, the EU is firmly integrated in the global division of labour and is today the world’s largest exporter and importer of foodstuffs

- in terms of volume, Europe’s agricultural trade is twice as large as that of the USA and China combined



3. Food production needs a strong Europe

- Conversely Europe is also indispensable for agriculture and the food industry, particularly from an economic perspective

- the EU single market is now the most important trading partner for the industry

- in the German food industry alone one quarter of the turnover, and consequently jobs too, are dependent on exports to the EU single market

- moreover the EU is also a secure investment location and a reliable research partner for the industry

- and finally it is the essential and principal operational framework for companies in particular

- almost every rule that we comply with in this country has its origins in Brussels – regardless of whether it involves labelling, digitalisation or free trade

- with the European elections in 2019 we will be setting the course for the next five years of European policy, and the objective is to work together to make our economy and our society fit for the future, in peace and prosperity

- in the face of increasingly nationalistic tendencies and populism it is therefore essential to continue to strengthen pro-European forces

- Brexit should not be followed by any further exodus

- calls for a strong Europe are not a call for more European specifications but above all for the completion of the internal market and standardised EU regulations

- this is because some indispensable preconditions apply if we are to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and make businesses more competitive

- future decision-makers in the institutions of the EU must focus on these objectives

- the European elections concern us all, and entrepreneurs, farmers and workers’ representatives must also be aware of their responsibilities.

They must make it clear to staff employed in their businesses that “it is

your prosperity and the prosperity of your families and your children that is at stake.”

-                      We in our association will do all we can to achieve this.


4. Good wishes to guests

It now only remains for me to wish you all every success at the International Green Week, and a constructive dialogue with your customers