Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

food markets

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the European Union’s agri-food sector is showing its resilience and continues to provide Europeans with high quality and safe food. Nonetheless, farmers and producers are facing difficulties and increasing pressure. Ensuring food security and an effective food supply chain across the continent remains one of the Commission’s priorities.

The Commission keeps monitoring closely all agricultural markets and trade of food products, with the EU market observatories being regularly updated. During today’s videoconference meeting, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski presented an overview of the situation to the EU Agriculture Ministers.

Commissioner Wojciechowski said: ”We are facing an unprecedented crisis and I am ever more grateful to our farmers and producers for their continuous hard work, despite the increasing difficulties and pressure. These challenging times have shown the resilience of our food supply chain. Today’s meeting allowed us to have an overview of this fast changing situation. I listened carefully and took good note of all the suggestions and requests that the Commission will now analyse and reply to. I will continue to follow the situation in close contact with Member States. We are ready to take further action when necessary.”

Since the beginning of the crisis the following measures were adopted by the Commission to support the agri-food sector:

  • Extension of the deadline for CAP payment applications: The new deadline for applications will now be 15 June 2020, instead of 15 May, allowing more flexibility for farmers to fill in their applications in these difficult and unparalleled times. The extension has already been communicated for Italy and the Commission is working on the legal steps to implement it for all Member States.
  • Increased state aid: Under the newly adopted Temporary Framework for state aid, farmers can now benefit from a maximum aid of €100,000 per farm and food processing and marketing companies can benefit from a maximum of €800,000. This amount can be topped up by de minimis aid, a type of national support specific to the agricultural sector that can be granted without prior approval from the Commission. Recently the ceiling of this aid was increased to €20,000 (and up to €25,000 in specific cases). This means that the total national support that can be granted per farm adds up to €120,000 (or €125,000) under the temporary framework.
  • Continuous flow of food products across the EU: the Commission is coordinating closely with Member States to ensure a functioning single market for goods by creating “Green Lanes”. These green lanes, based on designated key border crossing-points, will have border crossing checks that will not exceed 15 minutes. Passage is now granted for all goods, including agri-food products.

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