€8 billion recovery package for EU farmers to be fast-tracked

The European Parliament and Council reached a provisional deal on an EU recovery package for farmers, food producers and rural areas that should boost their resilience.

Reached yesterday (Tuesday, November 10), the political agreement still needs to be formally endorsed by both the parliament and the council, the European Parliament said in a statement.

Negotiators agreed to frontload all the funds made available for rural communities from the EU recovery instrument to 2021 and 2022.

The commission had proposed to release the funding between 2022 and 2024. Around 30% of the €8.07 billion aid will become available in 2021, and the remaining 70% would be released in 2022, says the agreed text.

MEPs secured at least 37% of the recovery funding for organic farmers, for environment and climate-related actions and for animal welfare.

Meanwhile, at least 55% of the fund will support young farmers’ start-ups and on-farm investments that contribute to a resilient, sustainable and digital recovery.

The share of recovery funding that EU countries will spend on environmentally beneficial practices should not be lower than the percentage of the EU rural development envelope they currently spend to this end.

The EU will finance up to 100% of eligible measures from the additional funds provided by Next Generation EU. EU countries will not have to contribute any additional money from their national budgets, parliament added.

Negotiators agreed that investments made by farmers and food processors that contribute to a sustainable and digital economic recovery can be supported up to a level of 75% of incurred costs.

MEPs also increased the ceiling for the business start-up aid from the Rural Development Fund for young farmers from €70,000 to €100,000.

Commenting, chair of the EU Parliament Agriculture Committee Norbert Lins said: “We have managed in a very short timeframe to agree that the desperately needed financial aid for EU farmers, food producers and rural beneficiaries will be released swiftly.

Now we must quickly finalise the negotiations on the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] rules for 2021 and 2022 so that, by the end of the year, we have relevant rules approved to help farmers to be more resilient in the future.

The text on the Next Generation EU recovery instrument will be incorporated into the CAP transitional regulation. The agreed CAP transitional rules will then have to be endorsed by the Parliament and the Council before they can enter into force on January 1, 2021.

The EU recovery instrument needs to be agreed by the council and is currently being negotiated under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and own resources package.