Spain and Portugal ask for extra support for rural drought

The agriculture ministers of Spain and Portugal have asked the European Commission for additional financial support for farmers affected by the persistent drought. Large parts of the countryside in the north of Spain and Portugal have been almost 'dried out' for months, and agricultural yields continue to decline.

European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said he has already met his southern European colleagues on the sidelines of an informal meeting in Strasbourg. Wojciechowski spoke to Luis Planas and his Portuguese counterpart, Maria do Céu Antunes, about the impact of the unusual winter drought. We are looking at which funds can be mobilized to compensate for the damage to agriculture and to support the sector. 

Spain and Portugal want to discuss this issue at next week's ministerial meeting in Brussels. Two weeks ago, the Portuguese government announced restrictions on the use of water from reservoirs for electricity production. There are also restrictions on the use of water in agriculture due to the drought affecting mainland Portugal.

The decision was based in part on predictions that there is an '80% chance' that 2022 will be an exceptionally dry year. 

dThe Spanish government will take 'the necessary measures' if it does not rain next week. There are even fears of 'restrictions' in the medium term. Possible measures will follow after the next meeting of the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries of the European Union. 

The drought does not affect Spain equally. The regions of Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, various zones in Murcia, Lleida and Girona have been particularly affected.