Campaigners used hundreds of pots and pans to spell out 'Stop food speculation' in giant letters outside the European Parliament today ahead of a key vote by MEPs on proposals to prevent banks and financial investors driving up food prices through financial speculation.
The 925 pots and pans used represented the 925 million people facing hunger worldwide.
MEPs will vote today on a raft of proposed financial reforms known as MiFID (the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive). Campaigners are calling for strict rules to stop speculation driving food price increases and price volatility.
Friends of the Earth Europe, Campact, SOS Faim and World Development Movement presented a petition with over 100,000 signatures from across Europe to the lead MEP for the legislation, Markus Ferber of Germany.
The reforms come at a time when the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme are warning of a new world food crisis.
Anne van Schaik, accountable finance campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "MEPs have a unique opportunity to curb food speculation in commodity markets. Negotiations are going in the right directions but it is crucial that MEPs make sure the regulations work and put the hunger of people before the hunger of the financial sector."
The World Development Movement's director Deborah Doane said: "We are experiencing the third food price spike in five years, and each one forces millions of people into poverty and hunger. Speculation is a major factor in these spikes, and it is entirely avoidable. The EU can help stabilise food prices and prevent enormous suffering, but only if MEPs vote for strong regulation."