In the face of the current agricultural market crisis that the European Union (EU) finds itself in, CEJA strongly welcomes the progress made during the Agriculture Council meeting today and applauds the Commission, Dutch Presidency and Member States for the proposals submitted and the work carried out to find agreement on a number of them. However, despite the progress made by today’s Council, CEJA calls for immediate and effective implementation of these decisions; for increased resources to prioritise the development of financial instruments under the European Investment Bank (EIB); and for a swift mobilisation of resources to ensure that adequate funds are available to finance the planned measures without dipping into the crisis reserve, which should only be used as a last resort.
CEJA welcomes many market measures in the list outlined by Commissioner Hogan at Council this morning, a number of which were supported by a majority of Member States, including in particular the doubling of intervention ceilings for Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) and butter; the introduction of a new Private Storage Aid (PSA) scheme for pigmeat and the extension of funding available under state aid provisions. CEJA also supports the creation of a Meat Market Observatory, along the same lines of the Milk Market Observatory, but emphasises the importance of it as an informative and analytical platform and not a political tool. As well as this, CEJA echoes the Commissioner’s calls to Member States to adjust their Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) as soon as possible in order to include existing market measures which are available under the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) framework (e.g. income stabilisation tools), and implores both the Commission and EIB to work together in order to ensure that new financial instruments can be developed in the agricultural sector in the medium and long-term. CEJA also supports EIB involvement in the establishment of export credits as soon as possible in a bid to alleviate the crisis and take product off the domestic market across sectors.
Speaking after the Council meeting had finished, CEJA President Alan Jagoe welcomed the outcome, stating that: “It is reassuring to see that Agriculture Ministers from across the EU are able to work together both with the Commission and the Presidency in times of crisis in order to find agreement on emergency crisis response measures in a bid to alleviate the difficulties which are being suffered by farmers across Europe, especially young farmers. In that respect, I now call for these measures to be implemented immediately and effectively in order to save agricultural businesses across the Union and give support to desperate farmers like those we saw protesting in Brussels today.”
Download the press release here.
For more information on what was agreed at Council, you can find the Presidency conclusions here.