The Commission has announced its intention to reduce the budget for the Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI) by almost 4%, as part of the multiannual budget 2021-2027, which would mean a cut in funding of more than EUR 70 million for the French overseas departments.
On 14 October 2020, French Member of the European Parliament Jordan Bardella of the Identity and Democracy Group filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. Taking into account the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the crucial importance of localism, including in agricultural production, and the legitimate protests from France, Spain and Portugal, MEP Bardella enquired “will the Commission reverse its decision and maintain the POSEI budget?”
On 18 November, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission. In his answer he stated that “the Commission remains fully committed to supporting the EU’s outermost regions, taking into account their permanent constraints recognised in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union” and added that “to this end, the Commission proposed to continue the EU’s special support to the agriculture sector of the outermost regions through the POSEI programme”.
Commissioner Wojciechowski further explained that “under the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), Member States’ pre-allocations for the common agricultural policy support are foreseen to be distributed as per the Commission proposal of 2018 and taking into account the European Council conclusions of 21 July 2020, subject to the consent of the European Parliament”. He clarified that “these conclusions underline the priority given by European leaders to the direct payments to farmers, increasing the budget for the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) accordingly”.
Finally, Commissioner Wojciechowski declared that “the Commission is keen to continue working with the European Parliament and the Council to reach a swift agreement on the MFF” and added that “it is ready to help the Member States concerned identify options for providing more support to farmers in the outermost regions within their respective national allocations under the EAGF”.
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