COVID-19: New aid package for farmers welcomed, but not enough 

Press Releases 
 
 
  • Private storage aid, extra measures against market imbalances, more flexibility 
  • Not the time to be frugal, nor to hesitate 
  • Need to activate all available tools quickly 

The EU Commission needs to get serious if it wants farmers to continue to put food on our tables during this pandemic and once it ends, the Agriculture Committee Chair said on Wednesday.

    Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) welcomed the Commission’s proposal for a short-term aid package, which provides private storage aid for dairy and meat products, activates exceptional measures to help the dairy, potato and flower sectors deal with severe market imbalances, and increases flexibility in fruit, vegetables and wine sectoral programmes. Yet, he stressed this was not enough:


    “I welcome all the actions taken by the EU Commission so far to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our farmers. I appreciate that Commissioner Wojciechowski has listened to our call to use other tools at the Commission’s disposal to help our farming communities, including triggering private storage aid and exceptional measures to face severe market imbalances. It clearly is a step in the right direction, but not big enough.”


    “We understand that the EU budget is tight. But this is not the time to be frugal, nor is it the time to hesitate. We are facing an unprecedented crisis and we need robust and decisive action to save our farmers, so that they can continue to put food on our tables - during this pandemic and after it ends. The Commission and EU member states must get serious now, put the money where their mouth is, activate all the available tools at their disposal and do it quickly - otherwise there won’t be much left to save anymore.”


    Background


    The Agriculture Committee debated ways to support EU farmers with Commissioner Wojciechowski on 15 April. During the debate, MEPs called for further action to be taken urgently to help struggling agricultural sectors.


    A call for targeted market measures was reiterated in a letter sent by Committee Chair Lins to Commissioner Wojciechowski on 17 April. The letter lists actions that MEPs would like to see taken swiftly, such as triggering private storage aid, tools to manage supply and exceptional measures to face market disturbances, rolling out compensatory payments for the most affected farmers from the rural development budget, and mobilising the remaining budget and - once it is exhausted - deploying the crisis reserve.