Let’s see how new EU measures “pan out” says Copa

The “exceptional measures” agreed by EU farm ministers yesterday to help alleviate market pressures on producers have been welcomed by Copa-Cogeca as a “move forward” but with the follow-on comment that we now have to see how they will work in practice

“The package is a step forward but we need to see how it pans out,” said Copa president Martin Merrild, adding that many farmers across Europe are facing the worst crisis since the early 1980s.

“The EU dairy and pigmeat sectors are bleeding,” he said, in welcoming an EU package that “has the potential to help improve the crisis, especially some of the market management measures, use of export credit insurance and additional financial instruments”.

Mr Merrild also took the opportunity of yesterday’s receptive atmosphere in Brussels to urge the EU’s farm ministers to “step up” payments of the €500 million (£390m) package released by the EU last September, pointing out that only part of that aid has been paid out so far.

Cogeca president, Thomas Magnusson, in his comments on the new crisis package, applauded the EU’s stepping up of its commitment to boost promotion measures and find new markets.

“It is also good that the Commission has prioritised its engagement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to develop the right financial instruments to help farmers invest in their businesses and improve competitiveness,” he said.

Scottish Government comment

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead, was also positive on the new EU package, with its recognition of the “ongoing and deepening difficulties facing agriculture right across Europe”.

“We need to see the fine detail but the package is a step in the right direction,” he said.

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