Commission response to farm crisis ‘neither bold nor decisive’ says MEP
The aid package to alleviate impact of the agriculture crisis on EU farmers agreed this week has been slammed as neither bold nor decisive by the chair of the European Parliment’s Agriculture committee Czesław Adam Siekierski.
While he said the package agreed this week was he stressed that the Commission should find fresh money to finance the package and called for more long-term measures.
“Commission’s aid package is a step in the right direction but it is not enough and it has arrived quite late. Actions that the package contains are neither bold nor decisive.
“It seems that the Commission has focused more on prolonging existing measures than on seeking new solutions. We expect more to be done and we expect it now,” says Mr Siekierski.
“But the Commission is not alone in not reacting properly to the agriculture crisis. Although only €1 billion was made available to support farmers throughout a two-year period, several countries failed to take necessary actions and so has not fully used the EU aid, to the detriment of their farmers,” Mr Siekierski adds.
More immediate measures and fresh money to finance the aid package
“Possible extension for one year of the extraordinary support measures for the fruit and vegetables growers hit by the Russian embargo is good news.
“There is also the proposal to allow voluntary cuts in dairy supply at national level and increase the upper limit for state aid to €15,000 per farm per year.
“But more could be done immediately. For instance, much larger quantities of EU agriculture products could be handed out freely to refugees using available surpluses,” Siekierski says.
“Commission should strive to find fresh money to finance the aid package as the agricultural budget has already been stretched to the limit” adds Siekierski.
Long-term measures needed
He also said that the EU also has to start seriously talking about a more responsive safety net and new market instruments that would help to tackle price volatility and market instability in the future.
“We need to dust off Parliament’s proposals on the crisis-related market measures from the last Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and consider updating the current market stabilisation and intervention tools within the CAP.
“We also need binding measures on the EU level to do away with unfair trading practices and introduce more balance into the food supply chain. And the Commission should table legislative proposals to this end now – we cannot afford further delays anymore”, the Agriculture committee chair concludes.