EU strategy on fertilisers

EESC opinion: EU strategy on fertilisers

Key points

The EESC :

  • welcomes the communication from the Commission on ensuring availability and affordability of fertilisers as the global fertiliser crisis, which started in early 2021 and worsened following the war in Ukraine, is particularly acute in Europe where farmers are facing both record prices and supply shortages. The current situation is a threat to European agriculture and global food security;
  • highlights that emergency domestic actions are required to limit the impact of the fertiliser crisis. Besides the possibility of directly supporting the most affected nitrogen manufacturers and farmers through State Aid (which faces budgetary constraints, raises risks of competitive distortions and should be subject to conditionality), the EESC considers that corrective measures are necessary to improve the functioning of the EU fertiliser market, as they are likely to have a greater impact on farmers and be more cost effective for taxpayers;
  • advises taking actions that include the suspension of EU import tariffs on all fertilisers, the facilitation of fertiliser logistics and regulatory flexibilities to addresses both fertiliser supply and prices by facilitating imports and domestic competition,
  • considers that medium-term measures are required to limit the EU's dependence on imported mineral fertilisers and reduce the environmental footprint of crop fertilisation. These should aim to limit fertiliser use through enhanced plant nutrient efficiency, partly substituting synthetic fertilisers by recycled livestock manure and other waste, and improving Europe's self-sufficiency in fertiliser production;
  • further calls for taking into consideration the social aspects related to farmers (who are highly impacted by fertiliser prices) food consumers (who are facing food price inflation) and industry workers when adopting new measures;
  • urges the EU to step up actions against global food insecurity, including the promotion of fertiliser transparency, availability and effective use. Global fertiliser trade should be facilitated by keeping markets open, avoiding export restrictions and bans, increasing fertiliser production and expanding logistic routes.