The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, today called on the European Commission to strengthen its support for the agri-food and fisheries sectors in the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking at today’s video conference of EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers with Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, Minister Creed welcomed the steps taken by the Commission to date, but said further action is urgently required.
The Minister said:
"I relayed my ongoing concerns about the depth and potential duration of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the agri-food sector, and reiterated my call for additional funding to be made available, particularly in the form of exceptional aid for livestock producers. All possibilities in this regard must be urgently examined."
Minister Creed took the opportunity to highlight improvements that could be made from an Irish perspective to the measures already announced by the Commission, including higher funding for aids to private storage in the dairy and meat sectors.
Turning to fisheries, Minister Creed noted that overall activity by the Irish fishing fleet is significantly reduced, particularly for smaller vessels, and that the market situation remains challenging. He called on the Commission to keep the needs of the sector under ongoing review.
Concluding, the Minister said:
"We need an ongoing, coordinated and effective response to COVID-19 at European level in order to effectively mitigate the impacts of the crisis on the agri-food and fisheries sectors. I expect the Commission to reflect carefully on today’s discussions, and I look forward to seeing further proposals that will ensure a robust and timely response to the difficulties that look set to continue to affect these sectors over the medium term."
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