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EU farming union calls for leaders to use ERI to help the agriculture sector recover from COVID-19

14 October 2020

Investments and the rapid deployment of funds are critical to keep the EU's agriculture sector and rural areas on track during the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

Following a 12 October vote in the European Parliament on the Resources for the recovery of Union agricultural sectors and rural areas, led by MEP Paulo De Castro, Copa and Cogeca underlined the urgent need for a rapid deployment of European Recovery Instrument/Next Generation EU (ERI/NGEU) funds and the importance for an equally rapid approval of the CAP Transition Regulation. Facilitating further investments in the sector should most importantly allow for a faster recovery and dealing with on-going COVID-19 crisis.

For Copa and Cogeca members the release of these funds during the transition years would make an important contribution to a much needed recovery of the sector. On this same line, it should be ensured that the measures supported through these means actually complement the “operations preparing the recovery of the economy“ as stated by the European Commission in its amended proposal to the CAP post-2020 in May this year. In this line, Copa is disappointed to see that a higher percentage was not dedicated to investments that will help farmers and their cooperatives get back on the track, deal with the on-going coronavirus pandemic and plan for additional improvements in their production in line with new EU objectives.

On the occasion of the vote Pekka Pesonen, Copa and Cogeca Secretary General stated, “We welcome the fact that the work on the transition regulation is moving forward with this vote and that our multiple calls to already make the NGEU/ERI fund available from next year have been heard. However, we stick to the line that the use of these funds should be dedicated prevalently to recovery from COVID-19. In this regard, we are disappointed to see that the Parliament was not ready to live up to that commitment.”

Copa and Cogeca members believe that the existing commitments to agro-envi-climate schemes should be continued to keep up with the green ambition of the CAP. Regarding this, it is unfortunate to see that the co-financing rates on the measures funded through ERI funds do not go up to 100 percent. This would ensure a fast and effective deployment of funds and ensure its use also in those Member States that cannot complement the co-financing rates through their national budget.

Last but not least, the additional funds should be channelled through existing measures, to provide for faster and simpler implementation.



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