Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD has called on the government to work with like-minded Member States to exert massive pressure on EU Commissioner Wojciechowski to act decisively in the context of the Covid-19 public health emergency.
Deputy McConalogue said, “It is very disappointing that the Commissioner at this week’s European Agriculture & Fisheries Ministers meeting did not announce the deployment of immediate market support measures and emergency aid funding for vulnerable farm sectors.
“As the Agricultural Commissioner, it is incumbent on him and his officials in the EU Commission to immediately execute support measures that fall under their exclusive competence as provided under the CAP’s Common Market Organisation Regulation. These measures cover market disturbance funding, and exceptional aid measures under Articles 219 & 221.
“Alarmingly, the Commission made no announcement on opening up markets support tools i.e. intervention and aid for private storage, to provide price supports in sectors such as dairy and beef.
“I would echo the calls made by several countries for maximum flexibility in farm schemes by the EU Commission, given that the pandemic is a force majeure event. This includes the simplification of procedures & derogations from non-essential inspection requirements. It is also vital that that the timely transport of food products and live animals is maintained at this critical time throughout the EU.
“European authorities need to stop procrastinating, act decisively and show solidarity with the primary producer and the agri-food sector, which is keeping food supply chains going during this crisis period,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.