TALLINN - At Wednesday's Agriculture and Fisheries Council video conference, the European Union's ministers of agriculture and fisheries concluded that the uninterrupted functioning of the EU internal market must continue.
"It is important that the uninterrupted functioning of the internal market of the European Union be ensured, particularly insofar as it concerns foods, seeds, feed and pharmaceuticals," Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller said in a press release, adding that all participating ministers shared this position.
The ministers also lauded the initiative to create green corridors aimed to help accelerate the cross-border movement of goods, live animals and seasonal workers.
Aller noted that a separate issue is the need to amend the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the EU common agriculture policy to prevent bankruptcies among agricultural producers, fishermen, and in food and other rural industries.
"In an emergency situation, the implementation of EMFF and the common agriculture policy has to be flexible," Aller said, adding that the investments that have already been made must still be regarded as eligible for support even if many entrepreneurs have committed to various obligations the fulfillment of which is no longer possible under the present conditions.
"Rapid and flexible implementation of EU resources must allow to change various deadlines relating thereto and to allow to reduce, postpone or cancel checks without stopping payments or prompting recovery," the minister said.
The European Commission concluded that possible short-term measures include relaxing state aid rules and rendering rural development programs and the use of EMFF funds more flexible for member states.
The present crisis situation has had the biggest effect on perishable goods producers in horticulture, fruit and vegetable production and fisheries.