‘Production cuts and credit tools needed to tackle EU agricultural crisis’

EU-wide compulsory measures to reduce milk production, new legislative measures to tackle unfair trading practices and credit tools are needed to tackle the EU agricultural crisis, according to the European People’s Party (EPP).

Speaking to Agriland, MEP Mairead McGuinness and member of the EPP said that this statement on the EU agricultural crisis recognises the reality at farm level across Member States.

“In a sense farmers can only do so much themselves, but they need some help from the EU and the Commission is looking for new markets.

“Milk supply and demand is out of kilter, there are several markets closed to us and the concern is that [the crisis] is deeper and more prolonged.”

A statement of measures in order to tackle the crisis from the EPP said that over the past 18 months, market conditions in vital sectors such as dairy, pigmeat, beef and fruits and vegetables have deteriorated to such an extent that the survival of many producers is now in serious jeopardy.

It has said that ensuring a level playing field within the internal market is of paramount importance for EU agriculture, particularly for the family farms which are the backbone of the EU’s rural communities.

The EPP Group calls for immediate action to address the imbalance of power between producers and the retail sector.

Dairy Sector

On a temporary basis the EPP Group calls on the Commission to propose EU-wide compulsory and non-bureaucratic measures to reduce milk production.

Also on the dairy market, it says that the current intervention system is too static.

It has called on the Commission to propose a new “ad hoc” intervention system to flexibly remove, according to market conditions, the necessary quantities of butter and skimmed milk powder in a quick and unannounced procedure, at market prices.

A flexible mechanism for deciding on the possible temporary raising of intervention prices and increasing of private storage aid has been called for.

Pigmeat Sector

To alleviate the difficulties on the pigmeat market, the EPP believes that the Commission should allow temporary production limits in the sector if necessary.

According to the party, the standard scheme for private storage should be reopened in due time and other appropriate measures should be implemented in line with the development of pigmeat prices.

Loan guarantees

The EPP Group calls for bridge financing and loan guarantees to help farmers with cash flow problems.

It believes that full use must be made of all instruments existing at EU level in order to facilitate farmers’ access to credit and investment, including through the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the Rural Development and Cohesion Funds.

Farmers should be granted access to private funding and to funding instruments such as crowdfunding, according to the EPP.

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