Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Agriculture ministers accept Commission aid plan

  • The Commission's aid package follows protests by farmers (Photo: Peter Teffer)

Most of the EU's agriculture ministers were cautiously optimistic about the EU commission's €500 million aid package for Europe's struggling farmers, after receiving additional details on the plan at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday (15 September).

“Most participants in the meeting generally welcomed the package of measures announced by the Commission as an initial response to this situation, whilst suggesting possible improvements”, said Luxembourgish agriculture minister Fernard Etgen at a press conference.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The meeting followed the Commission's announcement of an aid package last Monday (7 September) at an emergency meeting of farming ministers. Several of them criticized the commission for the lack of clarity, including how the money will be distributed.

“The problem was that there was too little cash on the table and that the measures were very unclear”, Flemish agriculture minister for agriculture Joke Schauvliege told reporters before the meeting.

“That's why the European Commission had to redo its homework and come back today with answers and hopefully more cash.”

The commission did not bring more cash, but did specify how the €500 million would be spent. The bulk of it, €420 million, will be handed out to the EU's 28 member states.

The distribution key was released by the commission on Tuesday.

The three largest member states receive the most money: €69.2 million for Germany; €62.9 million for France; and €36.1 million for the United Kingdom.

The Netherlands (€29.9 million), received a proportionally high percentage when compared to its population, as well as the Baltic states Lithuania (€12.6 million), Latvia (€8.5 million), and Estonia (€7.6 million).

The distribution key was calculated as follows, Phil Hogan told ministers, according to a prepared version of his speech:

“Reflecting the significant drop in dairy prices over the past year, which has affected all EU producers, the vast majority of the total amount - 80 per cent - is allocated on the basis of MS [member states'] milk quotas in the last quota year”, said Hogan.

The remaining 20 percent was calculated by looking at EU countries “which have been particularly hit by the fall in pigmeat prices, the impact of the Russian ban, very low milk prices and this summer's drought”.

At the press conference, Hogan noted that “there were no issues blocked today” and that when handing out money it is always difficult to keep everyone happy.

“I believe we got the balance okay. Nevertheless, there will always be some member states that would feel they should get more,” said Hogan.

The Irish commissioner noted that the emergency package is an “exceptional” measure, indicating that it is unlikely to be repeated next year.

Much of the package was funded by the so-called super levy - fines handed out to countries that exceeded their milk quota - a system which has been abolished this year. The last super levy was higher than expected.

Other measures included allowing EU countries to give a higher advance to their farmers than before – 70 percent instead of 50 percent of EU subsidies for 2016 will be allowed to be distributed in mid-October. Hogan adapted his original proposal by doing away with the requirement for anti-fraud measures, to speed up the possibility of paying out subsidies.

“In response to the call from a number of member states for further flexibility, I will now propose that Member States may pay 70 per cent of advances after the administrative controls have been completed and without the need to complete the on-the-spot checks”, Hogan told ministers.

The commission also announced it would buy around €30 million of milk products from European farmers, and distribute them to refugees.

Another measure would be to begin and enhance storage programmes whereby private storage of skimmed milk powder, cheese, and pig meat would receive funding. The idea is that once prices have increased, the stored products can be sold again.

It said it would begin the administrative process this week to implement the plan.

EU farming crisis to stay 'for some time'

Agriculture commissioner due to present package of relief measures next week but said he's "constrained" by financial resources and by EU legislation.

Investigation

Dutch bank faces questions on Romania land-grab

Dutch banking giant Rabobank is facing questions over investments in Romania, amid concerns that its subsidiaries are "land grabbing" in some of the EU's poorest and most corrupt regions.

Opinion

Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme

Growth predictions are positive, exports increasing, unemployment dropping and credit-ratings up, says the head of Greece's Syriza delegation to the European Parliament. Now the government in Athens is looking to design its own reform programme.

Analysis

We are not (yet) one people

Talks on the next EU budget will start on Friday. Brussels wants to do much more than before – and needs a lot more money. But arguing about funds won't be enough.

News in Brief

  1. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  2. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  3. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired
  4. Luxembourg and Ireland pay highest minimum wages
  5. Freedom of expression under threat in Spain, warn MEPs
  6. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  7. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  8. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  2. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  3. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  4. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  5. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  6. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  7. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  8. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  2. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  4. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  5. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  6. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  9. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  11. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  12. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission