24 April 2020

European measures for the agriculture and agri-food sectors

France thanks the European Commission for the emergency measures implemented to support the agriculture and agri-food sectors, and expects greater solidarity as regards the sectors that have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis.
"I would like to thank the Commission, and particularly Commissioner Wojciechowski, for having fully grasped the gravity of the situation."
Didier Guillaume
Minister of Agriculture and Food

In response to France’s calls, backed by all of the European Union (EU) Member States, the European Commission has just unveiled an initial series of market measures aimed at supporting the agriculture and agri-food sectors in their efforts to address the fall-out from Covid-19.

These measures include :
  • granting private storage aid for dairy products (butter, skimmed milk powder and cheese) and meat (beef, sheep and goat meat);
  • allowing flexibility in the way Member States implement the EU’s market support programmes, for fruit and vegetables, wine, olive oil and apiculture, as well as for school fruit, vegetable and milk distribution schemes;
  • exceptional derogation from EU competition rules, allowing producer and interbranch organisations to collectively take measures to help stabilise the market in the milk, flower and potato sectors.
The Government is working on a national framework for rolling out these measures, in liaison with the sectors concerned, so that they are applicable as from their adoption by the Commission on 30 April. The Minister will watch closely that these measures are retroactively eligible.

Didier Guillaume also underscores the need to go further, between now and 30 April, in terms of the wine and horticulture sectors, which have been particularly hard-hit. He is calling for specific European support funds for flowers for which operations have come to a complete stop, and for the wine and alcoholic beverages industry, which is suffering both from the restaurant closures and the US tariffs imposed months ago. It must be possible for exceptional European solidarity to be shown through direct aid.

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