Accelerated €8 billion recovery package welcomed by EU farmers

Efforts by the European Parliament and Council to reach provisional deals on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU recovery package for farmers, food producers and rural areas have been welcomed by CEJA.

While the recovery package provides well-targeted funds to tackle the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, young farmers remain concerned over the long-term ambition of the EU budget and its capacity to tackle all the challenges they face, the European young farmer representative group said.

CEJA highlighted the establishment of a fast-tracked €8 billion recovery package targeted at agriculture and rural areas under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) for particular praise.

With 55% targeted at young farmers, investment and cooperation measures, the deal reached yesterday demonstrates not only an explicit acknowledgement of young farmers’ needs, but also adequate financial means to support them.

The increased ceiling for installation aid which raises up to €100,000 per beneficiary as well as higher co-financing rates for member states have the potential to give renewed confidence in young people currently setting-up in the sector, the organisation added.

CEJA recognises the historic value of the MFF discussed yesterday; the negotiations have led to the achievement of positive elements, such as reinforced conditionality of funds to the respect of EU values and the enabling of new EU own resources.

They have not, however, improved the level of support for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), it was noted.

As a consequence, while being impacted by the long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, growing economic and social challenges and being at the forefront of the European Green Deal, serious concerns remain on the capacity of the EU long-term budget to back our collective ambition.

CEJA president Jannes Maes said: “The agreement on the budgetary framework now paves the way for the institutions to ensure that the limited budgets can support farmers in reaching the EU’s social, economic and environmental ambitions.

“Young farmers remain convinced that the MFF doesn’t reflect the level of ambition for our sector, emphasising the need to ensure that instruments are directed to active farmers only,” he added.

While the achievement of a recovery package aligned with young farmers’ realities is very positive, CEJA believes it will take more than the horizon 2022 to back EU’s agriculture and rural areas ambitions with adequate means.

CEJA says that young farmers call on co-legislators for timely approval of the recovery budget to respond to their urgent needs and full inclusion of young farmers in member states’ recovery and resilience plans.

They also call on EU decision-makers to ensure that, in future, appropriate means are put forward to meet the ambitions that young farmers show in their everyday activity.