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Published: 8 april 2020 15:50

Ensuring food security for Lithuanian consumers – in the hands of the European Parliament

Bronis Ropė
Žygimanto Gedvilos / 15min nuotr. / Bronis Ropė

The coronavirus pandemic revealed the utmost importance of food supplies in the European Union, as well as on the global scope. The European Parliament is planning to amend the Transitional regulation, which could stop the rapid vanishing of the agricultural sector in Lithuania, Member of the European Parliament Bronis' Ropė press office reported.

“The situation we face today clearly reflects the vital and strategic importance of agriculture. We need to ensure uninterrupted supply of safe, healthy and affordable food to our society. However, the number of farmers in Lithuania is rapidly diminishing; therefore, we are more and more dependent on the international suppliers”, says Bronis Ropė, Lithuanian MEP. “Discrimination of farmers in the context of unfair EU subsidies, which still differ several times among the farmers in different Member States, makes the situation even worse. The direct payments paid to Lithuanian farmers are among the lowest in EU, therefore increasing the number of Lithuanian farmers simply give up”.

According to Bronis Ropė, the situation in agriculture is also affected by unexpected drops of procurement prices for agricultural raw materials. In excuse of the extreme situation, the farmers are paid less for their production, in some cases even antedate.

“Today myself and my colleague J. Olekas have officially appealed to the other Lithuanian MEPs, inviting them to contact their colleagues in political groups and to support our amendments in the Transitional regulations, which are beneficial to Lithuanian agriculture, hereby demanding to finalize external convergence (equalization of direct payments among the different Member States up to the EU average) in the transitional period. We believe solid cooperation among Lithuanian MEPs could be beneficial. Unfortunately, my political group (the Greens/EFA at the European Parliament) is the only political group in EP, which expressed an official position to support the convergence process”, Bronis Ropė says.

The so-called Transitional regulation lays down the rules on the funding of the Common Agricultural Policy for 2021, and possibly for 2022. The European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee should have a final decision regarding the abovementioned amendments by the end of April. Should the Committee fail to approve the required amendments, they may be listed for voting at the Plenary.

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