Brussels under pressure to alleviate the effects of the crisis on the wine industry

Jeudi 11 juin 2020 par Vitisphere

“If Parliament objects, the risk is that the Commission will have to directly withdraw [these regulations]. This is already creating a degree of uncertainty in the industry”, warned Michael Scannel.
“If Parliament objects, the risk is that the Commission will have to directly withdraw [these regulations]. This is already creating a degree of uncertainty in the industry”, warned Michael Scannel. - crédit photo : EuroParl

At the beginning of June, the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament called for the “temporary exceptional measures” put forward by the European Commission to “address the market disturbance in the fruit and vegetable and wine sectors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” to be vetoed. Although 46 MEPs approved the extraordinary measures issued on 4 May (providing for flexibility in changes to programmes, particularly for green harvesting), 36 MEPs are asking “the Parliament to veto measures that do not go far enough” in order to “improve the aid package with additional targeted measures”, according to a press release. Calling for the improvement of co-funding levels, the carry-over of unused European funds from one year to the next and greater flexibility for national aid plans, the MEPs intend to put pressure on the European Commission, which is adamant that it will not pay a penny more to help wine regions get through the coronavirus crisis.

Defending the European Commission's proposals before MEPs on 2 June, Michael Scannel, the deputy director-general of the Directorate-General for Agriculture (DG Agri), said the rejected delegated act enables “crisis distillation, private storage aid, various flexibility measures related to harvests and strengthening of European funding to be introduced”. Reminding MEPs that the majority of Member States issued a favourable opinion on the measures, the Commissioner told them that “if you are not in a position to support this measure, the Commission has to withdraw it and there is a real risk that the sector will not be able to use existing envelopes to support the measures, which would be a missed opportunity”.

New offer from the Commission

Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, had anticipated a partial parliamentary objection to the act. In a letter dated 29 May, he stated that there was a possibility of exploring new relaxations and funding in the long term, depending on how the situation evolves.

 

 

 

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