The European Commission has approved 20 programmes to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries.
The total budget of the programmes, the grand majority of which will run for three years, is €46.5 million of which the EU contributes €23.3 million. The selected programmes cover a variety of product categories, such as organic products, fresh fruit and vegetables, wines, milk and milk products, flowers, processed fruit and vegetables, processed cereals and rice, egg labelling, as well as combinations of different product categories. The third countries and regions targeted are: North America, Russia, China, Middle East, South East Asia, India, Latin America, Norway, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Turkey.
The 20 programmes chosen – 12 target the internal market and eight target third countries – were chosen from 33 projects submitted by November 30, 2013, under the information and promotion scheme, as the first wave of programme submission for year 2014. Under existing rules the EU can assist in financing promotion and information measures on agricultural products on the EU internal market and in third countries. The total annual budget for these programmes is around €60 million. Under the recent political agreement on new promotion rules the budget will increase to €200 million by 2020. However, the new system will only apply from 2016.
The measures financed can consist of public relations, promotional or publicity campaigns, in particular highlighting the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, labelling, animal welfare or environmentally-friendly production methods. These measures can also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG), information on EU quality and labelling systems and organic farming, and information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines produced in specified regions (QWPSR).
The EU finances up to 50% of the cost of these measures (up to 60% in programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables by children or concerning information on responsible drinking and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption), the remainder being met by the professional/inter-branch organisations which proposed them and in some cases also by the Member States concerned.