During his speech at this meeting organized by the Croatian Presidency, the minister pointed out that the measures adopted by the European Commission are a good step in the right direction, although he considers that they are not enough to face this crisis, particularly the market regulation measures.
Planas understands that it is necessary to expand the package of measures and their economic endowment to avoid, as far as possible, the situation of the sectors from worsening in the coming months. For this, it has asked that special attention be given to the sheep and goat sector, since the storage measure has not been as effective as could be expected.
The minister pointed out that Spain is working to be able to use the support program for the wine sector to launch aid for crisis distillation, private storage and green harvesting. In this regard, Planas considers that the Commission should provide additional funding so that these initiatives are not detrimental to the measures of the program.
Regarding the situation of the olive oil market, it is essential that the European Commission adopt short-term measures that allow addressing the current imbalance between supply and demand, such as the application of a specific support program so that the sector can regulate production. comprehensively, along with promotional campaigns in foreign markets.
It has proposed greater flexibility in sectoral programs, such as in the fruit and vegetables sector, to make them more effective in the face of the current crisis, and to take into account the costs derived from the application of preventive measures against COVID-19.
He recalled that Spain, in relation to aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), has requested that there be no penalties or loss of funds for payments made after October 15, due to delays motivated by COVID-19.
Regarding the use of rural development funds to face the pandemic, Planas has stated that the percentage of 1% of the contribution of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is insufficient and should be increased, in the same way as the amounts flat-rate aid that can be granted to producers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Support measures for fisheries and aquaculture
During the videoconference, the ministers also exchanged views on the impact of COVID-19 on the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Planas thanked the Commission and the other Member States for their efforts to introduce the necessary modifications to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to cope with the effects of the crisis. To be effective, the minister understands that it is necessary for the new EMFF to have a sufficient endowment.
For the implementation in Spain of the measures included in the reform of the FEMP, Planas has detailed that a faster and more efficient mechanism is being designed so that the sector can access these supports and can recover normal activity as soon as possible.
In relation to other possible measures, he commented that Spain has already requested the European Commission to modify the regulations of the Common Fisheries Policy to allow it to increase the current percentage of the 10% quota that can be carried over to next year. It has also been requested that it transmit this same request to the Regional Fisheries Organizations so that they apply them in the quotas they manage.