Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès calls the European Council’s deal ‘at the level of the European challenges we have to face’. Belgium does incur losses on the Common Agricultural Fund, and the Boerenbond does not want that.
Around half past five on Tuesday morning, the 27 European Heads of State or Government reached an agreement on the European multi-annual budget for the period 2021-2027 and a corona repair fund, together amounting to an astronomical amount of over 1,800 billion euros. The negotiations dragged on for four days and nights, nearly breaking the duration record of the EU summit in Nice in December 2000. ‘We were able to agree this morning with a glass of fruit juice and a cup of coffee, the Belgian national holiday and to celebrate the birthday of the Swedish Prime Minister, ”Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès joked after the nightly marathon meeting.
The negotiations have dragged on for a long time, but the agreement ‘is at the level of the European challenges that we will have to face’, Wilmès is convinced. “There was a clear will to work on a balance between solidarity and responsibility.”
‘Suffer for the farmers’
The prime minister has also listened carefully to Belgian concerns. For example, there will be a Brexit fund of 5 billion that will support the most affected Member States and sectors, Belgium will eventually receive a compensation of 200 million euros for the transition regions, in addition to the 2.4 billion from the cohesion fund, and our country will be allowed 25% of the customs duties collected. A serious improvement compared to the 10 percent proposal, which the European Commission made in 2018.
Belgium will have to contribute to the extra discounts that large net payers such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden receive on their annual contribution to the European budget, although it is not yet clear exactly how much this will cost. And our country also collects losses on the Common Agricultural Fund (CAP), where serious scissors have been made. Our country was able to get an extra 100 million euros from the fire compared to Friday’s proposal.
“The discount is considerable and amounts to a whopping 40 billion euros (-10 percent) compared to the current financing of the CAP, even with the funds from the recovery fund included,” complains the Boerenbond, who speaks of a “blow for the farmers’. “Resources are essential for an efficient, affordable and increasingly sustainable food supply in the EU.”
The Boerenbond finds the decline ‘surprising’, while the European Union imposes more ambitious environmental objectives in the context of the European Green Deal. “How can our sector climb out of the trough of this pandemic, make it more sustainable and at the same time be expected to produce the safest products of the highest quality in an open world market, if the EU fails to correct the market appropriately or to pursue sufficiently strong supportive policies? “, chairman Sonja De Becker wonders.
De Becker asks for the situation to be ‘rectified in the further roll-out of the measures’. Among other things, it wants to facilitate access for farmers and horticulturalists to the financial instruments of the corona hedging fund, to make agricultural investments in research and development and to absorb the impact of Brexit for the agricultural and horticultural sector as well. new brexit fund.
“Getting out of the crisis”
Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon also commented: ‘Glad that, despite the major contradictions, there is an agreement on the European budget and the corona repair fund. Solidarity must go hand in hand with responsibility. ”
“This is how we get out of the crisis,” he adds. “We also included a Brexit reserve of 5 billion at our request.”