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Indeed, while the EU imports the majority of its gas and oil, it is also totally dependent on imports of animal protein. European hens, cows and pigs consume no less than 37 million tonnes of imported plant-based protein.
[Juncker's] Commission ha[d] not proposed to reduce meat consumption, as it remains a taboo subject despite being at the root of the problem. Instead, it has identified that "soya is a particular problem because the EU can only cover 5% of its need for soya." This was pointed out last year by European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan.
In three years, the area cultivated in France for soybeans has increased tenfold to reach 160,000 hectares. That represents a drop in the ocean compared to the 29 million hectares of land cultivated in France. As the head of Europe's largest biodiesel group, [Avril pres Arnaud] Rousseau is calling on farmers to feed their livestock and other farmyard animals with rapeseed meals rather than soybean meals.
France imports only 45% of its plant-based proteins while the rest of Europe imports two-thirds. If France attempts to change things, mainly because of its predominant role on the biodiesel market, covering Europe's need for animal feed (i.e. 43 million tonnes per year, including 12 million tonnes of Brazilian soya), is not technically feasible.
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