10/28 France: milk and livestock sectors part of COVID recovery plan

Among the requested aids is the support for the protein autonomy of farms (100 million euros), the modernisation of slaughterhouses (€130 million), the “Biosecurity and animal welfare in farming” pact (€100 million) and training in collective bargaining for producer organizations (€4 million).

10/30 Slovenia: aid approved for farmers and other self-employed

The Commission confirmed on Oct 30 the approval of a €378 million Slovenian scheme to support farmers & other self-employed workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan involves the payment of direct grants to cover, partially, income lost because of emergency measures imposed to limit the spread of the disease. There are expected to be more than 1 000 beneficiaries. Approval was granted notably because the aid will not exceed €100 000 per recipient for farms, €120 000 for fishery & aquaculture businesses and €800 000 in other sectors. Also, it will not be granted after Jun 30, 2021.

10/30 Poland: aids for Polish wood sector aid

The Commission announced on Oct 30 the approval of a €13 million scheme in Poland to help the wood sector deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the plan, aid in the form of debt cancellation will be available to businesses of all sizes which buy wood from the State Forests agency. Some 6 500 companies are expected to benefit. The support will not be more than €800 000 per beneficiary and the scheme will run out on Mar 31, 2021. 

10/30 Denmark: subsidies for restaurants

A €99.4 million (DKK 740m) Danish scheme to help cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, venues & their suppliers to handle the effects of restrictions on their opening hours during the pandemic has been approved. In an announcement issued on Oct 30, the Commission explained that the beneficiaries will receive direct grants based on a percentage of their fixed costs & the decline in turnover between Aug 19 & Dec 31, 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. They can apply for the grants until April 30, 2021. No beneficiary will receive more than €800 000 and support will not be granted later than Jun 30, 2021.

11/03 France/EU: FranceAgriMer publishes the details of aid for wine storage

The implementation of this support has been expected since the spring: they are part of the extension of the “exceptional measures” allowed by Europe in an April regulation to deal with the consequences of containment. The office specifies in its decision that the measure remains subject to the publication, still pending, of the delegated regulation amending this initial text. The amount of the package is €40 million (including €5 million from the EU). The daily flat-rate aid is set at 4 cents per hectolitre. The scheme is available for two storage periods: six months (7.24 euros/hl) or eight months (9.68 euros/hl), from 1 November 2020. A minimum of 100 hl must be stored. The aid will be paid at the end of the storage period.

Update 16/11 – At the videoconference of agriculture and fisheries ministers, there were calls from France, Spain, Greece, Hungary & Croatia for special measures already taken in the wine sector to be extended. The Commission was “considering a one-year extension, which could apply retroactively,” to Oct 16, of crisis distillation & storage. 

11/04 France: support for the implementation of health measures on farms

To help operators protect their employees, the MSA (Mutualité sociale agricole) has been offering financial support since June to facilitate the implementation of protection and prevention systems in order to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

This aid is intended for companies with less than 50 employees, and farms in great difficulty. With an amount of up to €1,000 excluding tax, the aid makes it possible to cover 100% of different types of prevention and protection equipment. This concerns work equipment, for example automatic door opening systems, videoconferencing, or distance and protection measures such as masks, plexiglass, plastic curtains, and also protective measures and hygiene at work, such as soap or gel dispensers, hand wash basins, hygiaphones, etc.

11/04 Italy, Lombardy: budget for most affected supply chains

As applications for €20 million measures for dealing with the economic effects of COVID-19 close, Lombardi Regional Counselor for Agriculture Rolfi asked for measures to be implemented during the transition period (2021& 2022). Thus, €20 million will be available to the three most affected supply chains in the region: agritourism, horticulture and calf farming.

11/04 EU: compromises on European Recovery Plan

After the Agri Committee’s approval of the negotiating mandate of rapporteur Paolo de Castro (S&D, Italy) on 13 October, the first trilogue on the Commission’s proposal on the agricultural part of the recovery plan took place on 4 November. According to the co-legislators, the money from the recovery plan should be spent in 2021 and 2022 before the implementation of the new CAP, contrary to the proposition of the Commission. The Commission, the Parliament and the Council also do not agree on how to spend this budget, in particular on the level of “green” spending or co-financing. 

11/04 France: 4th amending budget in light of the second wave

The LFRP 4 presented to the Council of Ministers on 4 November represents an increase in State expenditure of €20 billion. The solidarity fund, strengthened and enlarged, represents €10.9 billion. Three billion are earmarked for tax exemptions for businesses and 3.2 billion to finance short-time working. The Ministry points out that income tax, VAT and corporate tax revenues were 4.1 billion higher than forecasted; while the energy tax (TICPE) was disappointing, with -1.4 billion less than forecasted.

11/05 France: Guinea fowl, quail, duck and pigeon farmers to receive €3 million in aid

The parameters of this aid remain to be worked out. 

The poultry industry – to whom nothing had been promised this summer unlike potatoes, cider and beer – welcomed this announcement. These productions have suffered from the closure of the out-of-home catering sector, and the inter-profession had launched several appeals for help to the public authorities from the first confinement.

11/05 Denmark: up to 17 million culled animals after spread of coronavirus

After a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans, health authorities fear this could potentially lower the efficacy of future vaccines. Tougher lockdown restrictions and intensified tracing efforts will be implemented to contain the virus in some areas of Northern Denmark, home to a large number of mink farms, authorities said. On the same day, the country reported 214 cases of humans infected with variants of the disease related to mink.

Update 12/11: The EU disease centre warned that the virus may be able to accumulate mutations more quickly in minks which could then spread back into the human population. They also warned that the establishment of a “virus reservoir” among minks might give rise to problematic virus variants in the future. Further investigations are required regarding the nature of these mutations.

11/09 EC study on the impact of COVID-19 on agri-food sector

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) is currently conducting a study on the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic on the EU agri-food sector from farm to fork. The aim of the survey is to better understand the resilience, constraints and response of operators in the agri-food chain. The survey is available in all 24 EU official languages and will remain open until November 30, 2020.

11/10 Germany: federal Council gives green light for EU aid concerning COVID-19 impacts on agriculture

The new regulation implements parts of the support package that the EU Commission launched at the end of April. For farmers, there are two specific EU implementing regulations, for the potato sector and for milk and milk products. In horticulture, it concerns the implementing ordinance on living plants and goods in the flower trade.

11/10 Agri recovery plan: Parliament and Council reach provisional deal

Parliament and Council agreed to 30% of the €8.07 billion aid deal to become available in 2021, and the remaining 70% in 2022. At least 37% of the recovery fund is secured for environment and climate-related actions, as well as animal welfare. At least 55% will support on-farm investments and young farmers’ start-ups contributing to a resilient, sustainable and digital recovery. Additionally, The EU will finance up to 100% of eligible measures from the additional funds provided by Next Generation EU.

11/11 Germany: rural areas helped cushioning the economic blow of COVID-19

In a German report, agriculture minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) outlines that the “decentralised settlement and economic structures” of rural areas in Germany – just like during the financial and economic crisis in 2008 – helped generating around half of the country’s economic output. According to her, these areas should be secured and strengthened. She calls for investments in rural areas which are expected to come from the EU budget and are expected to see a 5% increase in 2021 and 2022 compared to 2020.

11/12 Austria: CoV Package – €15 mil for agriculture

With the help of the Upper Austria Plan, the focus of the funding will be on structural investment projects and mechanization to reduce fine dust pollution. In addition, from February 1, 2021, there are plans to increase the funding rates for animal-friendly stables and sectors with low self-sufficiency, such as the turkey sector.

11/12 – EFSA assesses COVID-19 in mink

The European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) has published a rapid assessment of the risk to human health of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants in mink. One of the clusters found in Denmark has “raised specific concern due to its effect on antigenicity,” experts at the Centre said. “Further investigations are needed to assess whether this may have any impact on i) the risk of reinfection, ii) reduced vaccine efficacy or iii) reduced benefit of treatment with plasma from convalescent patients or with monoclonal antibodies”. This topic is up for discussion among Agriculture Ministers at the informal virtual gathering on November 16.

11/16 Hungary and Poland block €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery package

Hungary and Poland blocked the approval of the EU seven-year budget as both countries continued to oppose the rule of law mechanism attached to the EU funds. The 27 EU ambassadors met on November 16 to approve a series of compromises reached between the European Parliament negotiators and the German presidency of the Council to roll out a €1.1 trillion budget and a €750 billion COVID-19 recovery fund. The package also included the new rule of law mechanism, which would allow for the suspension of EU funds in case of mishandling European money or breaching EU principles. In an earlier letter sent to the Commission, Hungary and Poland had threatened to block the approval process of the MFF and the recovery fund if the rule of law mechanism was approved, as they considered it an encroachment on their “national sovereignty”.

11/16 EU: food supply not impacted by second wave  

European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski told Ministers at a videoconference among Agriculture Ministers on November 16, that his services were monitoring markets closely and so far, the imposition of a second wave of pandemic controls has not impacted food supply. “I think we all agree that EU food supply chains have proven to be resilient during the crisis,” and that “we avoided having a food crisis on top of a health crisis.” Through the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission is committed to come up with a contingency plan for challenges to food supply by the end of the next year, but in the meantime it is already monitoring the functioning of the food supply chain.