Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
908. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the specific proposals he put forward at the recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in relation to the urgent need to provide adequate financial support for the farming sector in view of the additional difficulties that have arisen for different sectors due to Covid-19; the outcome of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6717/20]
On 13 May, I attended a video-conference meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers with Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, and Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevicius, to discuss the effectiveness of measures introduced by the Commission to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and fisheries.
I welcomed these measures, which include, inter alia, private storage aid for the dairy and meat sectors which were a response to an Irish initiative. However, I also reiterated my ongoing concerns regarding the depth and potential duration of the crisis, and made it clear that these actions can only be the first step. In particular, I called for additional funding to be made available in the form of exceptional aid for livestock producers.
I also called for the CAP post-2020 budget to be fully restored in the next Multiannual Financial Framework. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the important role farmers play in putting food on European tables. They are also expected to contribute to achieving higher levels of climate ambition post-2020, and so we must ensure that we have a CAP budget that is fit for purpose.