The crisis is demonstrating the geostrategic nature of the agri-food sector and the need to maintain food self-sufficiency in the European Union. For this reason, the EESC welcomes the new measure proposed by the European Commission and thinks that the Commission should set up a special fund outside of the common agricultural policy budget using resources from the Recovery Plan to implement it without having to reduce funds under the EAFRD. Failing this, the Committee believes that the legislative proposal in question should introduce some flexibility into the European agricultural fund for rural development.
In this, the final, year of the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, the funds available under the European agricultural fund for rural development vary greatly from one Member State to another. The proposed cap of 1% of the budget should be exempt from the budgetary constraints of Regulation No 1305/2013 to enable Member States to comply with it. Thus Member States need to be able to use the available funds and to that end obtain an exemption from Article 59(5) of Regulation No 1305/2013, regardless of the origin of the funds, while applying targeted criteria in order to avoid any overcompensation.