EU Reveals ‘Exceptional Measures’ for Farming and Processing Sectors
The European Commission has confirmed a range of measures for the European agro-food sector in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The package will allow the temporary withdrawal of products from the market for a minimum of two to three months, and a maximum period of five to six months. This measure will lead to a decrease of available supply on the market and re-balance the market in the long-term, the Commission says. It will also authorize the derogation from certain competition rules under the Common Markets Organization (CMO) Regulation, which will be applicable to both the milk and potato sectors. This would allow operators to adopt “self-organization market measures”. These sectors will be allowed to collectively take measures to stabilize the market. For example, the potato sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market. Storage by private operators will also be allowed. Such agreements and decisions would only be valid for a period of six months at the most. Consumer price movements will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects.
The Commission aims to have these measures adopted by the end of April. In order for this to happen, member states will need to be consulted, and vote on them. They are, therefore, subject to change, the Commission highlighted.
Speaking recently, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski, said: “The consequences of the coronavirus crisis are increasingly being felt in the agro-food sector and this is why we have decided to take swift action, in addition to the measures already taken since the outbreak of the crisis.”
The proposed measures are, in the present state of market developments, intended to send a signal aimed at stabilizing markets and are considered to be the most appropriate for providing stability to future prices and production and thus, to ensure stable food supplies and food security.
“Today we are announcing a new and exceptional package of measures to support the most affected agro-food sectors by addressing already observed disturbances as well as future risks. I am confident that these measures will relieve markets, and show concrete results rapidly,” the commissioner added.