Brussels, April 23, 2021
Dear Commissioner Wojciechowski,
As Members of the European Parliament, we would like to strongly support an ambitious 2022 Annual Work Programme (AWP) of the Promotion Policy. The next year’s programme should help EU farmers overcome the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and bring further visibility to their efforts in achieving the environmental objectives of the EU.
Producers are facing challenging times due to the pandemic but also to the consequences of the trade dispute with the USA and the Brexit. Therefore, it is more important than ever to provide a strong and well-funded Promotion Policy.
Last year the European commission decided to cut by 9 per cent the 2021 AWP budget, down to 183 million euros. This reduction goes far beyond the 4% cut decided for the overall agricultural budget in the context of the new EU financial framework.
Furthermore, the Commission also decided to substantially increase the allocation for the organic sector, reaching 29% of the total promotion budget. We firmly believe that the European promotion of organic agriculture should be strongly supported to boost EU consumption. Nevertheless, we would like to draw your attention on the need to avoid indirectly benefiting imports coming from third countries while neglecting the support to other European quality food products, which also play a very important role in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
In view of the elaboration of the 2022 promotion program, we call on the European commission to restore the 2020 budget (200 million euros) and to take duly account of the following aspects:
In addition, we would also like to express our concerns about the next revision of the horizontal promotion regulation. Excluding some products from this policy, such as meat and wine, would not only damage the worldwide competitiveness of the EU, but also benefit third country products complying with much lower environmental and health standards. It is important to avoid stigmatizing the EU agriculture, whose gas emissions have fallen by at least 23 % since 1990, including methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock productions. If we want to avoid a sustainability leak and encourage EU farmers in their constant environmental efforts, it is vital to keep an inclusive promotion policy.
In light of the above, we kindly ask you to propose an ambitious, well-funded, and inclusive 2022 AWP that is in line with market realities and that will enhance EU competitiveness while encouraging producers to further improve their sustainability.
We thank you for your time and consideration.
Paolo de Castro
Francisco José Millán Mon
Adrián Vázquez Lázara
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez
Antonio Lopez Isturiz