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New emergency support from Brussels for vegetables and fruit

New emergency support from Brussels for vegetables and fruit

On 29 September 2014 the European Commission made new emergency support available for certain vegetables and fruit to cushion the effects of the Russian boycott.

Background
This Russian boycott had already prompted the European Commission to adopt temporary special support measures on 18 August 2014 in Regulation 932/2014. These measures, which we described in our article Temporary support measures for growers of vegetables and fruit, were suspended on 20 September 2014. Too many dubious claims had been submitted, which meant that the cap had already been reached in certain parts of the programme.

The new emergency support
The new programme of support measures involves a maximum of 165 million euros. This sum is available for the period 30 September to 31 December 2014 at the latest for both certified product organisations and their members and non-affiliated growers and may be used for the following actions:
(i)             taking products off the market;
(ii)           green harvesting;
(iii)          non-harvesting.

The new emergency support applies for the following products which are explicitly intended solely for fresh consumption:

Category 1:

  • apples with CN code 0808 10;
  • pears with CN code 0808 30;

Category 2:

  • plums with CN code 0809 40 05;
  • table grapes with CN code 0806 10 10;
  • kiwis with CN code 0810 50 00;

Category 3:

  • tomatoes with CN code 0702 00 00 (exclusively varieties intended for fresh consumption);
  • carrots with CN code 0706 10 00;
  • sweet peppers (capsicums) with CN code 0709 60 10;
  • cucumbers with CN code 0707 00 05;
  • gherkins with CN code 0707 00 90;

Category 4:

  • oranges with CN code 0805 10 20;
  • clementines with CN code 0805 20 10;
  • mandarins with CN codes 0805 20 30, 0805 20 50, 0805 20 90;

Residual category:

  • cabbage with CN code 0704 90 10;
  • cauliflower and broccoli with CN code 0704 10 00;
  • mushrooms of the genus Agaricus with CN code 0709 51 00;
  • soft fruit with CN codes 0810 20, 0810 30 and 0810 40.

The bulk of the emergency support will go to the products listed in the four main categories, on the understanding that maximum quantities have now been determined per category, per Member State. The Netherlands is only eligible for support in categories 1 (43,300 tonnes) and 4 (6,800 tonnes). On top of the capped quantities, the Member States may take off the market, green harvest or refrain from harvesting another 3,000 tonnes extra in products. These 3,000 tonnes apply for all products, so also for products in the residual category. In this context it is conspicuous that the Commission’s press release seems to imply that soft fruit cannot benefit from the emergency support. Perhaps this is a misprint. After all, soft fruit is explicitly mentioned in Regulation 1031/2014.

Formalities
The ‘first come, first served’ principle applies for the distribution of the funds. Every Member State may decide to set up a different system for allocating quantities, however, on condition that such a system is based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria. The Dutch implementation rules are not yet known, however. We therefore do not know whether a different allocation system will apply for the Netherlands. For the rest, we expect that these implementation rules will come soon, so there should be clarification on this point in the near future.

Certain formalities must also be observed in order to be eligible for this additional financial assistance. These formalities are very similar to those mentioned in Regulation 932/2014. We described the formalities from the above Regulation at length in our article Temporary support measures for growers of vegetables and fruit. It cannot be ruled out, however, that the new Dutch implementation rules may entail supplementary regulations.

As soon as the Dutch implementation rules have been adopted, we will devote an article to this on our knowledge portal. If you have questions about the new emergency support or about the COM rules in general, please contact:

By Selma van Ramele & Eric Janssen

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