MEP Midlands North West

€500m EU package for farmers ‘not enough’

The European Commission’s €500 million support package for farmers is not enough to tackle the challenges facing the agri-food sector according to Fine Gael’s Colm Markey, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee. It is one of a number of measures outlined by the Commission today (Wednesday) in response to the food security crisis, sparked by the war in Ukraine. The issue will also be discussed at a plenary session of Parliament this evening.

The Midlands-North-West MEP welcomed elements of the plan but said more should be done to tackle the soaring cost of fertilisers:

“We need an emergency plan and a strategy to address the shortage of raw materials. The use of the Crisis Reserve Fund is a welcome step however, it is important to note that €500 million will not be enough to tackle the financial challenges facing the EU’s agri-food sector. It essentially amounts to one euro per EU citizen. A number of steps can be taken to alleviate the crisis such as a support mechanism for traders to manage the risk of buying fertiliser in bulk and further financial support to farmers in employing the use of lime, clover and multi-species swards to help address our dependence on fertiliser and meet our climate targets. Keeping Europe’s agri-food sector afloat during this crisis will need funding from outside CAP. The Commission should also consider measures to identify fertiliser production capabilities as critical infrastructure to ensure they remain out of the hands of those who support forces that pose a threat to global security or run the risk of future sanctions.

“Other measures announced today are welcome including a plan to map risks and vulnerabilities of the EU food supply chain and a proposal for Member States to communicate monthly data of private stocks of essential commodities for food and feed to avoid food nationalism. I particularly welcome the option for countries to implement reduced rates of VAT to improve affordability and a call on them to tap into EU funds such as the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) to provide food to the most vulnerable in society. These actions are a first step but more will need to be done in the coming weeks and months to address rising prices and enhance global food security.

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