Wednesday

12th May 2021

EU farming crisis to stay 'for some time'

  • Hogan (r): "I am constrained within the limit of my resources" (Photo: European Commission)

EU states have proposed over 100 initiatives to help the European farm sector recover from the “long-lasting, profound crisis”, EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said Monday (7 March).

But he warned members of the European Parliament's agriculture committee in Strasbourg that the crisis is “still likely to be with us for some time to come”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“The market is still in a very difficult situation,” he said, adding that recovery has been slower than previously thought.

Hogan asked MEPs for input a week ahead of a ministerial meeting aimed at deciding EU-wide measures. He said the EU actions need to be within the legal framework of the EU's agriculture policy, must recognise the constraints of the budget, and command a “broad support” among member states.

“I am constrained within the limit of my resources. You and I have to agree that every year,” he told MEPs. “I'm also limited by the legislation. I try to work within the tools I've been given.”

The Irish politician reminded MEPs of the €420 million of direct aid the EU made available to farmers last year.

“Some of these amounts have not yet been given out. So there are resources out there,” he said, adding that only 10 of 28 member states have implemented last year's measures.

Next Monday, farm ministers will gather in Brussels to discuss the situation in agricultural markets and to decide on European steps.

MEPs in the agriculture committee said many European farmers are struggling.

“This is not people crying wolf, this is now families in serious danger of losing everything they have,” said British Conservative MEP James Nicholson.

A prominent Green MEP from France, Jose Bove, said that 600 French farmers had committed suicide out of despair. He persuaded his fellow MEPs and the commissioner to commemorate them in a moment of silence.

While some MEPs said they had hoped Hogan would have been more concrete, the commissioner noted that he did not want to present any package before having spoken to the parliament.

He will now use the coming week to come up with proposals and present them at next week's ministerial, he said.

The Dutch EU presidency is also assessing the various proposals that have come in.

Falling prices, especially in the dairy and meat sector, prompted protests by farmers in February in France, the EU's largest agricultural producer.

Farmers last September also clashed with police during protests in the EU capital, Brussels.

EU deregulation of the milk industry, which came into effect in March last year, is part of the reason for the trend. Russia bans on EU exports of dairy products, pork, and sea food, also prompted lost income.

Agriculture ministers accept Commission aid plan

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.

Infographic

EU farming policy: The damage done by 20 years of inertia

The EU Commission will ask the public later this week how the common agricultural policy should be overhauled. Data from the past two decades reveals a catalogue of missed chances and failed reforms.

EU farm chief questions own milk scheme

The EU just ended milk quotas. On Monday it reinstated them on a voluntary basis after prices crashed. But the EU commission itself doubts the new scheme will work.

News in Brief

  1. Israeli rockets kill 20 people in Gaza retaliation
  2. No more EU expulsions likely over Russia bomb attacks
  3. EU ready to ignore Hungary veto on Hong Kong
  4. Borrell admits EU neglect of Western Balkans
  5. Macron accused of 'cowardice and deceit' in military letter
  6. EU citizens in UK applying for settled status face legal limbo
  7. Netherlands gives €2bn to offshore carbon storage project
  8. Germany will allow Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all ages

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  2. First recovery euros could be paid out in July
  3. Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals
  4. Mercosur trade deal will fuel 'poison pesticides' back into EU
  5. Can new Iran talks avoid mistakes of the original JCPOA?
  6. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  7. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  8. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us