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The European Commission has outlined a new package of measures worth €500 million, to be delivered from EU funds, which will be used to support farmers in the face of “ongoing market difficulties” particularly in the dairy industry.
The comprehensive support package is further evidence of the commission’s continued commitment to the agricultural sector across the EU, it said.
The package contains three main elements: an EU-wide scheme to incentivise a reduction in milk production, into which €150 million is being invested; conditional adjustment aid to be defined and implemented at state-level out of a menu proposed by the commission, worth €350 million; and a range of technical measures to provide flexibility, cash-flow relief and to reinforce the safety net instruments offered to farmers.
The commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Phil Hogan, said: “Coming at a time of significant budgetary pressures, this package provides a further robust response, and means that the commission has mobilised more than €1 billion in new money to support hard-pressed farmers. Our ultimate goal is to see the much-needed recovery of prices paid to farmers, so that they may make a living from their work and continue to provide safe, high-quality food for citizens, as well as their contribution to rural areas and rural jobs and the provision of public goods.”
The precise details of all the different measures will be finalised in the coming weeks, the commission said.
The announcement comes in addition to a separate package of €500 million that was presented by the commission last September, and the range of other measures, such as the activation of a clause permitting voluntary agreements among milk producers on planning milk production, which was announced in March.
In terms of additional financial resources, the commission has, in less than a year, mobilised in excess of €1 billion to support the farming sector “at a time of significant budgetary pressures, particularly on the migration front”.
The moves represent “a very robust response on the part of the commission and is a very strong statement of support for European farmers”, it claimed in a statement.
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