COVID-19: MEPs demand better aid for EU fruit and vegetable growers
The EU’s Agriculture Committee has endorsed a set of exceptional market measures to help the EU wine, fruit and vegetable producers but rejected another one for not being good enough. To ensure that the wine, fruit and vegetable sectors get further support as quickly as possible, the Agriculture Committee decided to proactively greenlight the delegated regulation tabled by the EU Commission on 4 May, instead of waiting for the two-month objection period to pass. The measures provide for additional flexibility to farmers and producer organisations when it comes to making changes in operational programmes or extending support linked to green harvesting and mutual funds.
Call for further measures to help the sectors
But MEPs also launched a procedure that could lead to the rejection of another delegated regulation the Commission adopted on 30 April. They voted by 36 votes in favour to 11 against, with one abstentions, to recommend that Parliament vetoes an older set of market measures for wine, fruit and vegetable producers, which are already in place, for not going far enough .
MEPs want the Commission to improve the original aid package with additional targeted measures. These should include increasing co-financing rates, extending the list of eligible measures and expenses under the fruit and vegetables operational programmes, allowing carry-over of unused funds from these programmes to the next year and providing additional regulatory flexibilities within and beyond the national wine support programmes.
The committee also extended the deadline for a potential veto by Parliament to give the Commission more time to improve the proposed measures. The new deadline for rejecting the delegated act has been set for 31 August.
“The Commission’s support measures for the wine, fruit and vegetable growers are by far not enough and we have repeatedly asked Commissioner Wojciechowski to improve them. This has not happened so far and therefore we have endorsed today only some of these measures and we have put our green light for the other ones on hold. We have also extended the deadline for our potential veto to give Mr Wojciechowski more time. We urge the Commission not to waste it,” said Agriculture Committee Chair, Norbert Lins (EPP, DE).