This week, I attended the Agriculture Council of Ministers to address the current agrimarkets crisis. My job is to support and defend our farmers, and help them deal with the present difficulties while also planning for the future.
Today, farmers are under immense pressure and it is therefore crucial that we continue to support them in any way possible. As a result, I asked Member States to bring forward proposals to help alleviate some of the pressures. The best way to help farmers is to have realistic proposals that deliver real solutions without compromising the policy boundaries or budget limits of the CAP. I told Ministers that the Commission will play its full role in assisting European farmers, using all of the tools available to me and to the Commission.
After a series of discussions, the Council and the Commission agreed to take decisive action without delay by supplementing the existing 500 million euro aid package with new additional measures so as to help all European farmers on a day-to-day basis. As part of the measures that will be introduced, we will set up a Meat Market Observatory to cover beef and pigmeat. Additionally, we will increase state aid, introduce more funding for promotional campaigns, discuss alternative loan schemes for farmers, and continue negotiations with Russia.
In addition to these measures, I also spoke with Member States about working together to provide farmers with tailored loans and financial instruments. It is important that we introduce new flexible loan schemes which can be tailored to the demands of farmers. I encouraged the European Investment Bank to consider introducing new repayment schemes which would suit the needs of milk producers in the current crisis. I will continue to make a strong case on behalf of all milk producers to ensure that they are not ignored.
I believe that we are on the right path to overcoming the current challenges brought on by the Russian embargo on European food produce, and the unfavourable global commodities market. By combining these additional proposals with CAP simplification and my ongoing "Diplomatic Offensive" to pursue new global markets for our high-quality EU food and drink products, I am confident that the situation will improve gradually for our hard-working farmers.
For more on my latest proposals to help farmers, please click here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/commissioner-speeches/pdf/hogan-2016-03-14-agriculture-council-markets.pdf
For more on my ambitions to deliver financial instruments and loan facilities tailored to farmers, please click here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/commissioner-speeches/pdf/hogan-2016-03-14-agrifish-council-financial.pdf