EU leaders congratulate 1,000 Fair Trade Towns while the European Commission re-thinks EU policies

4 June 2011 (Brussels) – European Union leaders have spoken out for Fair Trade and congratulated the Fair Trade Towns movement as it reaches its 1000th Fair Trade Town. On Saturday 4 June 2011 Spain’s capital city Madrid joins the UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency Witney, amongst others, in reaching the status of the 1000th Fair Trade Town worldwide, most of them in the EU. On this festive occasion, the Fair Trade movement calls on the European Commission to reflect the EU citizens´ views in its upcoming legislative and policy proposals.

European Union leaders congratulating 1000th Fair Trade Towns:

Mr Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, see full statement here.

Ms Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions, read the message here.

Mr Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, picture and statement.

FTAO press release is available to download here.


“As President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the assembly of local and regional authorities, I am extremely happy to see that today 1000 cities, many of them members of the CoR, are part of the Fair Trade movement. The Committee of the Regions expressly welcomes the recognition of the important role of local and regional authorities in trade policy with Fair Trade products. Many European regions, as well as local and regional authorities, have been running Fair Trade projects with their partners in developing countries for many years. Partnerships must be based on mutual trust between the partners and transparency in their dealings with one another. Agreements concluded on a Fair Trade basis must observe the principles of equal treatment, mutual recognition and proportionality

The CoR is delighted with the development of Fair Trade and the growing readiness of Europe’s municipalities and regions to introduce environmental and social criteria into public procurement. This readiness is all the more important in the current financial and economic crisis.

It is also pleased to note that in recent years the local and regional authorities of the European Union – the tier closest to the public – have established themselves and their credentials in Fair Trade and fair procurement. Fair Trade towns have made it much easier for many thousands of people to get involved and created real opportunities for them to support Fair Trade.

I want to warmly congratulated this great initiative and its fight for making the world a better place for all its inhabitants.”

Mercedes Bresso


“Dear Fair Trade supporters,

I congratulate the recent achievements of The World Fair Trade Organization, and for making Fair Trade one of the best tools for sustainable development. I would also like to congratulate the community of Fair Trade Towns campaign connecting over one thousand local communities, and showing an excellent example of good cooperation between different actors all supporting Fair Trade. It is important that we act in a concerted way.

I believe Fair Trade to be an important tool in making the economy and the distribution of resources fair and sustainable. Most people suffering from hunger today live in rural areas, where we can find small-scale family and subsistence farming. Trade must work for the development and the alleviation of poverty and show consideration for these farmers. The recent rise in food prices has been very hard on the small scale farmers and other marginalized producers in the developing countries. Fair Trade has shown to be an important and effective contributor to poverty reduction, socially and economically empowering small scale producers. As an integral part of the economy and in the fight for global food security the conditions for these small scale farmers must be cared for and improved. This is why I support any initiative for a fairer trade in a fairer world. You and I have the possibility to make a choice, and show what we think is important, as it is also a question of forming opinions.

I wish you all the success in your future endeavors,

Yours sincerely,

Staffan Nilsson.

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