EU cannot and should not get the pig industry out of the crisis with a subsidy

The European Union does not have procedural, legal or financial possibilities to support the pig industry in a targeted manner. Moreover, their poor market position is not so much an agricultural one, but a financial and economic one. That is what Deputy Director General Scannell of the EU Commissioner's Office in Brussels says.

The official top of EU-LNV gave an explanation of the market situation in the pig market in the agricultural committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday. Many EU countries have been pushing for EU support for months to help their small and medium sized pig breeders. 

The EU service management says that most (financial) problems in the pig industry are caused by corona (sick staff, less slaughter capacity, less catering turnover) and by inflation and the economy (higher fuel prices, more expensive animal feed). These causes do not have an 'agricultural' but an 'economic' origin, and the consequences of these are primarily the responsibility of Economic Affairs or the heads of state, according to the official top.

In addition, for a number of EU countries, exports to (the major sales market) China have ceased due to outbreaks of African swine fever in their country. But that does not apply to other EU countries that are still AVP-free: they still export to China. 

The European Commission points out that EU measures should always apply to iedereen: equal monks, equal hoods. The EU is not allowed to provide financial support to a few (small) pig farms in a few EU countries. The top official also points out that 75 percent of the pig market is in the hands of 2 percent of large meat companies. They can still cough up the current high costs.

In contrast to the agricultural policy, Brussels has no direct lines with the individual (pig) farms, and there are no consultation lines with the EU. The pig industry wants to have as little to do with Brussels as possible. EU countries themselves are allowed to provide temporary financial support to some of their pig farms. Nine EU countries are currently doing this, in all kinds of different forms.

The only technical possibility that the European Commission sees is the temporary storage of pork in cold stores. By taking part of the supply from the market, prices should (theoretically) start to rise. But according to the EU technocrats, the pig industry doesn't see much in this, because it only has a delay effect because that meat eventually comes back on the market.

EU Commissioner Janus Wojciechowski therefore does not want to intervene so far. He remains convinced that the sector will find its own way out. Last week he promised to come up with a catalog of possible measures by the end of January at the latest. Until now, however, he has ruled out the possibility of intervening with additional European subsidies.