Covid-19: EU to take ‘several new measures’ to support farmers

The European Commission will increase advances of direct payments and “simplify certain administrative requirements for farmers” as part of new measures to support EU food production, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In a statement today, Monday, April 6, the president said:

“The fight against the coronavirus affects all parts of the European economy. One of the sectors where we will tolerate no disruption whatsoever is that of food.

Despite these challenging times, we make sure that Europeans continue to have access to high quality, affordable food.

The president pointed to earlier measures taken to ensure that goods, including food, flow in the single market, as well as ease of travel for seasonal food planting and harvest workers.

“I would like to thank our farmers who make sure that food is available in our shops. And I am grateful to the thousands of European citizens who are volunteering to help with this year’s harvest.”

President von  der Leyen described this as “a wonderful example of European solidarity”, but added “farmers need more help”.

“This is why we take several new measures to support them.

Today we will give farmers more time to submit their applications for direct payments and rural development payments. And we will soon increase the advances of these payments, to give them more cash upfront to pay their bills.

“We will also simplify certain administrative requirements for farmers and for national administrations. Because they have more urgent priorities these days than fill in papers.

“And we will make it easier to support medical facilities in rural areas, through the rural development fund. We stand by our farmers in these challenging times,” the president concluded.