Poultry farming in Europe is a particularly dynamic sector which in recent decades has seen high levels of vertical integration and a significant pace of growth. The economic damage resulting from COVID-19 in the poultry farming sector has been considerable, both in the primary sector of farming and in the secondary sector of slaughter and processing.
On 03 November 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament Theodoros Zagorakis of the Group of the European People’s Party, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. “In view of the sector’s importance in the food chain and with the aim of protecting poultry farming undertakings”, MEP Zagorakis asked the Commission “how does it plan to contribute to the sector’s recovery?” and “what data does it have on cases of unfair competition from poultry products imported into the EU?”
On 16 December, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission and reported that “to support farmers and food businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis, a series of measures were put in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, including a temporary framework for state aid, a ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus’ (CRII+) increasing flexibility in the use of European structural investment funds (ESIF), advances on direct and rural development payments and a modification of the Rural Development Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, providing farmers and small agri-food businesses with targeted liquidity support. All these measures were open to the poultry sector”.
Commissioner Wojciechowski stated that “the Commission will continue to monitor closely the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the EU poultry sector in order to be able to respond to its negative consequences, as appropriately as possible, in full compliance with prevailing legislation and within budgetary availabilities” and “in relation to competition from import, it should be noted that poultry meat imports into the EU are limited by tariff rate quotas”.
Finally, Commissioner Wojciechowski explained that “all meat and meat products entering the EU market have to also comply with the EU’s strict sanitary (food safety and animal health) standards” and added that “it should be noted that over the period January-September 2020, EU poultry meat imports declined significantly, both in volume (-13.9%) and value (-19.7%) compared to the same period last year”.
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