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Brussels to allocate 250 million euros to drought-affected countries in Southern Europe

  • Brussels to allocate 250 million euros to drought-affected countries in Southern Europe

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The European Commission has expressed its willingness to distribute the remaining 250 million euros of the agricultural crisis reserve among those countries of the European Union most affected by drought and floods "if circumstances justify it", following a request submitted Tuesday by the Portuguese delegation on behalf also of Spain, Italy and France, reports Europa Press.

"I assure you that I have heard loud and clear their requests for support," said Tuesday the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, during his speech in Brussels before the EU agriculture ministers.

After his appearance, he reiterated on social media his willingness to use the 250 million euros still available in the agricultural reserve, after the two packages - one of 56.3 million and another one not yet approved of 100 million euros - "if the circumstances justify it".

Aware of the need to invest more in the creation of risk management strategies and strengthen instruments to mitigate the impact of climate change, the Polish commissioner recalled that the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) offers a "toolbox" to strengthen risk management, so he hopes that these possibilities can be "exploited" in order to support those farmers most affected by these adverse weather conditions.

The Commissioner also said that he has already instructed the services of his portfolio to evaluate the applications submitted by the Portuguese delegation to activate the support that could exist under the CAP with the aim that all farmers affected can continue their activity.

For his part, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain, Luis Planas, has insisted that the crisis reserve be mobilized "as soon as possible", because he believes that it is "fair" that farmers are supported in this situation caused by the climate crisis, but that has a "direct effect" on agricultural markets.

In addition to the request for activation of the agricultural reserve for Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, the request - which has been supported by the other countries - also included that "maximum attention" be given to administrative measures such as derogations and flexibilities, particularly in the context of the implementation of the CAP that may be requested by the various Member States concerned, including direct payments, as well as operational programmes of producer organizations, the wine support programme and the authorization scheme for vine plantations.

The document points out that it is also necessary to increase the level of advance payment rates to at least 70% in the case of direct payments, and to at least 85% for funds granted in the framework of rural development and that the advances of the single application for 2023 can be paid before the on-the-spot checks have been completed.

Requests, all of them, that Wojciechowski has assured to have heard "loud and clear", ensuring applicant countries that the Commission is "open" to consider the possibilities that are on the table.

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