On 16 November 2020, Romanian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ioan-Rareş Bogdan of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Beekeeping is an extremely important agricultural sector for the EU. It makes a key contribution to the development of society, both by maintaining the ecological balance and biodiversity and from an economic standpoint. In recent years the sector has been faced with a range of challenges affecting bee families year on year as well as the revenue they yield. This has led to a tailing-off in interest among beekeepers, beekeeping enthusiasts and others involved in the sector.
The extreme climate changes of recent years have not made production more cost effective, since the costs involved in feeding bee families has led to an increase in beekeepers’ expenditure and made the sector unprofitable.
These circumstances mean that European beekeepers are having to apply for financial support every year to ensure the survival of bee families and continue beekeeping activities.
1. What action is the Commission taking to help the ever-increasing number of European beekeepers and beekeeping organisations whose activities are being severely affected?
2. How would the Commission view the granting of direct financial support at a European level to partially compensate pollination operations and also provide reliable and permanent funding for activities relating to bee families?”
On 2 February 2021, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission is aware of the challenges the apiculture sector is facing. In the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as the Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the Commission has set out concrete actions to assist and support the sector.
The EU currently supports its beekeepers mainly through national apiculture programmes, which are co-financed under the CAP, with an annual budget of EUR 40 million that is set to increase to EUR 60 million as from 2021 and doubled with national co-financing.
Apiculture programmes can contain up to eight measures with a clear focus on improving general conditions for the production and marketing of apiculture products, such as technical assistance to beekeepers and beekeepers’ organisations, combating beehive invaders and diseases, assistance for the restocking of hives and improvement of product quality.
Other CAP instruments can be used to address the needs of the sector e.g. through supporting setting-up of producer organisations, farm and processing investments in beekeeping, participating in relevant quality schemes or through creating environmental conditions and habitats beneficial for bees.
Considering the available instruments in support of the sector, the granting of direct financial assistance to apiculture is not foreseen in the current or upcoming regulations under the CAP. The final rules governing direct payments under the CAP post 2020 legislation will depend on the final agreement of the co-legislators, i.e., the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
Member States can also grant support to the apiculture sector through state aid in line with the state aid rules applicable to the agriculture.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/beekeeper-bees-young-hive-4426003/