[English] European measures welcome but incomplete

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© European Union, 2019
The European Commission today announced a number of measures to support the European dairy and beef sector affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

These and previously taken measures are desperately needed, says Boerenbond in a press release today. Boerenbond insists on a swift implementation of these measures. However, it is unacceptable that some severely affected sectors are overlooked.

Flemish and European agriculture and horticulture are vital sectors that must continue to function during the corona pandemic in order not to endanger food production and food supply. At the same time, they are severely hit by the corona crisis. The European measures for private storage aid for dairy and beef products announced today are therefore very welcome. But important gaps remain. Particularly the lack of support for other sectors, such as the ornamental horticulture and potato sectors, which have been very severely and acutely hit by the crisis, is unacceptable. Hence, more specific support is needed to generate cash flow in the short term and to strengthen the liquidity position of the companies in those sectors.

Do not shift responsibility

“We note that the European measures pay little or no attention to the liquidity problems of the companies,” concludes Boerenbond chairman Sonja De Becker. "The Commission cannot simply shift responsibility for this to the Member States or sectors." Additional European budgets are needed and Europe must take its share of responsibility as guardian of the single market and custodian of the common agricultural policy.

"Too little, too late"

The magnitude of the impact and malaise within the agricultural and horticultural sector justifies the urgent use of European funding from additional sources. Boerenbond has already conveyed this message to EU Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski on several occasions. "Time is running out and more action is needed," said chairman De Becker, warning against the risks of the European Commission taking an overly cautious approach. Especially for the forgotten ornamental horticulture and potato sectors in the Commission’s proposals, an urgent approach is now needed. A delay in doing so may result in a support that turns out to be "too little, too late".