European Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski believes that the EU needs a larger crisis fund to deal with calamities. According to him, the current disaster fund is only suitable for absorbing the blows of minor market disruptions and upheavals.
The corona crisis and the Russian war against Ukraine show that the crisis fund can only be used incidentally, on a limited scale.
In a meeting with the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Wojciechowski said that the EU countries themselves are in a better position than the Commission when it comes to allocating crisis aid. The EU has expanded the rules that allow EU countries to provide incidental financial support to their industries. The new agricultural policy also opens up possibilities for national deviations.
At the same time, Wojciechowski said that he is considering reopening the crisis reserve again this year, but the EU countries must agree to this and also free up money themselves. He has already made it clear (in the case of bird flu and swine fever, among other things) that crisis aid on a EU scale will at most be a drop in the ocean. If it were distributed among all farmers in the EU, only about 50 euros would be available for each farm.
According to Wojciechowski, rising inflation is a much bigger problem for many farmers. This inflation is not the same in all Member States, which makes counter-reactions from Brussels more difficult. Hungarian farmers are currently hardest hit by price increases. The situation is also difficult in the Baltic States, as well as in Romania and Bulgaria.
Due to the high inflation and its impact on European agriculture, the European agricultural budget should be increased considerably in the new long-term estimate, Wojciechowski told the European Parliament. That new multi-annual program will not take effect until 2028, if a new Commission is in place after the 2024 elections. However, the current team of supervisory directors intends to 'adapt their budgets to the new reality'.
The current agricultural budget (€270 billion) is about a third of the total EU budget. However, this budget has been significantly depleted in recent months due to rampant inflation. According to the EU agricultural chief, a larger budget is needed to ensure food security for the European Union, as well as to protect agriculture, the environment and rural communities.