Agriculture - exceptional measures for EU farmers
European Commission activates exceptional measures to support European farmers in crisis
The European Commission is announcing today an additional package of exceptional measures using all the tools made available in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to support EU farmers while safeguarding the EU internal market. The measures are highly adjustable so that Member States can use them to the best of their capacities depending on their specific national situation. Dairy, pigmeat, fruit and vegetable sectors are the main focus of this support package.
The Commission will activate, for a limited period of time, the possibility to enable producer organisations, interbranch organisations and cooperatives in the dairy sector to establish voluntary agreements on their production and supply. This is the so-called Article 222 from the Common Market Organisation (CMO), which is specific to the agricultural sector and can be applied in case of severe imbalance in the market.
The Commission will give its full consideration to a temporary acceptance of state aid that would allow MS to provide to a maximum of €15,000 per farmer per year and no national ceiling would apply. This can be done immediately and much more quickly than an increase in de minimis ceilings.
Skimmed milk powder and butter
The Commission will increase the quantity ceilings for skimmed milk powder and butter put into intervention from 109,000 tonnes and 60,000 tonnes respectively to 218, 000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes.
Pigmeat sector and Meat Market Observatory
In response to the proposals for a new private storage aid scheme for pigmeat, Commissioner Hogan will consider the introduction of a new scheme. The details of the scheme, including the timing of its introduction, will have to be confirmed. Following the footpaths of the Milk Market Observatory set in 2014, a Meat Market Observatory will be set up, covering beef and pigmeat.
International Trade and promotion
In relation to negotiations on TTIP and Mercosur, the Commission is well aware of the agricultural sensitivities. Commissioner Phil Hogan alongside the college of Commissioners is determined to promote the EU's interests and open up new markets for EU products, while negotiating a differentiated treatment for sensitive products.
Promotion campaigns are a key instrument in finding new markets and over €110 million are available for 2016 only to support promotion of EU agricultural produce within the EU and on third countries.
The Commission will prioritise its engagement with the EIB, with a view to developing appropriate financial instruments to assist farmers. Member States are also encouraged to make full use of the opportunities offered by the European Fund for Strategic Investment for investment in the agricultural sector.
Rural Development, fruit and vegetable Sector
The Commission will work together with the Member States to see where and how rural development programmes can be adjusted to make them more responsive to the current crisis. The Commission is also considering a prolongation of the exceptional measures for fruit and vegetables, arising from the Russian ban which will expire on 30 June.