Member States agreed to a Commission proposal to increase the EU support under the emergency plan for vegetable producers affected by the E-Coli crisis from € 210 million to € 227 million. This will allow the Commission to pay 100% of the demands for compensation from the different Member States.
On the basis of the notifications from all Member States on the EU support requested for all the exceptional measures, i.e. withdrawals, green and non harvesting , it appears that the financial impact of the measures taken in the context of this E-coli crisis has been slightly bigger than expected. Given the significant disturbance of the fruit and vegetables market and the harm caused to the fruit and vegetables sector, the Commission considers it therefore appropriate to increase the budget up to € 227 million.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş stated: “The use of CAP funds needs to be fully justified. Several Member States supplied complementary information on their demand for compensation last week. Today, we have a clear picture of the total demand for compensation. To be able to pay the totality of the demands, I propose to increase the available budget. This will ensure that we properly support our vegetable producers in these difficult economic times for the sector and allow the reimbursement of all Member State demands for the period from May 26 to June 30. From the start of the crisis I said I was very keen to show Europe can react quickly when it needs to. I will now propose to the College to endorse this budget increase in the shortest time possible to make it possible for Member States to pay this EU support to the entitled producers soon”.
An emergency aid package for fresh vegetable growers worth €210 million was agreed by the Commission on 17 June. This scheme allowed for the EU to pay producers for cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, courgettes, and sweet peppers that have been withdrawn from the market between May 26 and the end of June as a result of the E-coli outbreak. The decision foresees paying a maximum rate of 50% (70% for members of Producers Organisations) of the usual producer price of the different products in June.
Member States had to notify their final demands for compensation by 18 July. However, complementary information was needed and sought from some Member States in respect of their notifications. The Commission received and analysed these complementary information’s, and in some cases updated notifications, from the Member States concerned. It has now a clear picture of the total demands.