A number of emergency measures have been approved by the EU in order to provide aid to farmers and fishermen affected by the coronavirus pandemic. These urgent measures are being implemented to support food producers in an attempt to avoid disruption to food supplies in the EU.
Despite the introduction of green lanes to help mitigate delays related to cross border flows of agriculture goods, thanks to which vehicles transporting critical goods are still allowed to travel, the acquaculture, agriculture and fish sectors still face a number of issues. Among these is the shortage of labour hands due to the suspension of the free movement of seasonal workers, who while deemed as critical workers, might not wish to leave their homes during this pandemic. This will invariably result in lower production, which could in turn have an impact on prices. Moreover, the closure of hotels and restaurants means that a lot of agricultural suppliers have lost many big clients.
The Commission has also implemented other measures such as the reallocation of unused agriculture funds to fight the effects of the crisis in rural areas as well as a more flexible and simplified European agriculture fund for rural development will allow for loans or guarantees at favourable conditions.
During a recent plenary session, MEPs approved financial assistance for hard-hit fishing communities and aquaculture farmers, as these sectors are also facing various issues such as logistical difficulties in ports, increased freight prices for shipping fish products, trade restrictions with non-EU countries, a collapse in prices, loss of markets, concerns over crew safety and limited possibilities for crew rotation due to quarantine.
These emergency measures should help these sectors, including increased possibilities for state aid and the introduction of support measures through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which will be made more flexible.
Find out what other measures the EU has taken to combat the pandemic.