The agricultural sector is in need of a specific fund outside CAP in response to the corona crisis, says the EPP.
In an exchange of views in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development with Commissioner Janusz Wociechowski regarding the exceptional measures for the European farming sector, the ECR Group called for a specific agricultural fund outside the Common Agricultural Policy budget (CAP).
This fund must have all the necessary resources to support the agri-food sector during the corona crisis. “The crisis package announced for farmers falls short of meeting our expectations. There remains a lack of political will to provide a credible response to the needs of our farmers. The Commission must understand that agriculture is a strategic sector that deserves our full support”, stated ECR Spanish MEP Mazaly Aguilar, speaking on behalf of the ECR Group, whilst also thanking the Agriculture Commissioner for his efforts and dedication.
Ms. Aguilar continued, “The European Union has prepared a general package of 3 billion euros to lift us out of the crisis, but only a mere 80 million euros are to be spent on the agricultural sector. If you compare this to the United States where there is a budget of 20 billion US Dollars for farmers, our resources are insufficient.”
“The budget that is on the table, where market measures have been incrementally eliminated, including budget reduction, will not satisfactorily face up to this crisis. Different aspects of the package, where several sectors are marginalised, are ill-prepared and deserve our attention.”
“There is no time to waste. An additional specific fund for agriculture deserves our full support to fight the crisis outside the CAP budget and with the necessary funds.”
Members urged for targeted measures for livestock, wine, olive oil, poultry and flowers and other sectors to alleviate the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural markets. The ECR Group has made it clear from the outset that farmers must not be asked to pay the price for the crisis measures. Therefore, new money will be needed from outside the CAP budget.
It is a matter for consideration whether such funds should be contingent upon farmers implementing more sustainable agricultural practices.