Kaspars Gerhards: while implementing the reformed EU agricultural policy, especially in the first years, farmers should not be burdened by new additional requirements

Wednesday May 13, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, at an informal videoconference of the EU Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, emphasized that the first months of crisis, caused by Covid-19 epidemy, were difficult for the sector of agriculture and food industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and government had to make many operative decisions to stabilize the situation however, no less important is a coordinated and operative support from the European Union.


Kaspars Gerhards, the minister for Agriculture: “The European Commission has come forward with an initiative to provide a possibility for Member States to support farmers with EUR 5000 and small and medium enterprises with EUR 50 000 from the rural development funding, available for them. As the current seven-year financial budgetary period is coming to an end and Latvia just as some other Member States has already successfully implemented measures of the Rural Development Program and the available funding has been used. Thus, the funding for urgent measures, proposed by the European Commission, is not available anymore. Therefore, Latvia needs an additional funding from the European Commission so that all the Member States have equal possibilities to lessen the consequences caused by Covid-19 in the area of rural development.”


At the informal videoconference of the EU Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministers from Member States discussed a negative impact of Covid-19 on the sector of agriculture and food industry, support measures, applied up to now, and the further necessary actions to restore national economy.


It is clear that Covid-19 crisis will have negative consequences for agriculture in a long run. Therefore, the EU recovery plan and financial sources must provide an adequate support for agriculture and food industry to help recover from this blow. An adjustment to equalize the EU direct payments is one of the means to support agriculture as apart from the threats, Latvian agricultural sector is experiencing now, it is still receiving the lowest level of direct payments in the EU.


Just as it is necessary to consider postponing of the new initiative that might impose an additional burden for farmers – European Green Deal as well as new climate and environmental requirements, to post-crisis time when the economy has fully recovered.


The Minister pointed out that the EU must do all the possible to protect farmers and food producers of the EU Member States, supplying and placing on the market the EU products  and not imported ones. The European Commission must strongly require from importing countries to conform to the EU high standards and requirements.


Information prepared by: Dagnija Muceniece,
Head of the Press and Public Relations Division
telephone: 67027070; mob.: 26534104
email: Dagnija.Muceniece@zm.gov.lv

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