We threw out our televisions 20 years ago­ first one, then the other of my partner's children left home! And now, this Christmas we stayed with them all in the north and had a great time. But after watching their TVs, we came home glad not to have one. So much is US inspired or made, it's as if the UK is an island off America. No wonder our public policy constantly looks west. This week, the Swedes take over the EU presidency. Press and politicians panned the French presidency. On the food front, however, I thought it a great success and the health council made a commitment to tackle Europe's growing diet-related crisis and to audit all EU policies for nutritional impact. I am biased, because I was an advisor, but this could be significant, as long as it is followed up. On Europe, we British often seem to be re-living past wars. We ought to look forward, like Sweden. After joining the EU, Sweden went through a rapid learning curve. They were upset by the alcohol and dairy regimes. They worry about losing their tough controls on advertising targeted at children. Sweden is wealthy, with high taxes and stunning quality of life. The Swedes intend to make the environment, as well as EU enlargement to the east, two key presidency features. Far from Britain looking nervously at what Uncle Sam thinks, maybe we ought to learn more from the smaller countries to our east. They too had imperial pasts and are sophisticated. Scandinavians have pioneered some of the most successful food policies, linking production with health. Most have food and nutrition policy councils, advising ministers on joined-up public policy. Sweden plans to lower energy use in the food chain fourfold in 20 years. Look East, I say. {{NEWS }}