European horticultural organisations are pleased that the European Commission acknowledges the huge problems experienced by the floriculture sector, and that they’re taking steps to enforce temporary market measures. However, they haven’t yet offered any concrete, immediate relief for entrepreneurs in the European plant and flower industry. “It’s a good first step”, according to lobbyists Eveline Herben (VBN) and Sylvie Mamias (Union Fleurs).
Two weeks ago, nine European horticultural organisations asked the European Commission for immediate temporary support for the floriculture sector. With this support, the floricultural industry in the EU hopes they’ll be able to survive the coronavirus crisis. ‘It would be an enormous and hopeless mistake of the EU not to provide the floriculture industry with the necessary support’, was their message.
On the 22nd of April, the European Commission proposed that the floriculture sector should be allowed to take crops off the market to create more stability, but they haven’t offered any financial support so far.
Recognition for floriculture
European horticultural organisations are pleased that the European Commission acknowledges the huge problems experienced by the floriculture sector, and that they’re taking steps to enforce temporary market measures.
“The proposed intervention is unique and certainly not obvious. Especially in the context of the current crisis, when the highest priority is given to food crops and food security, and considering the specific position of the floriculture sector within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU”, explains Herben. After all, the floriculture sector has always been a free market sector, operating independently of this CAP.
Mamias agrees that the European Commission’s step is extraordinary and most welcome. It was reached thanks to lots of hard work at different levels by various floricultural organisations. “We had very little time to raise the alarm and reach the Commission from behind our laptops at home and convince them that urgent extraordinary support measures were needed for the floriculture sector in the context of the CAP.”
However, the horticultural organisations feel that the measures proposed by the European Commission on 22 April, a 6-month exemption from the competition rules, doesn’t provide a concrete and immediate relief for European plant and flower companies that are facing huge financial problems, including cash-flow problems and high costs due to the destroying of produce. “They aren’t sufficient to be the lifeline that the European sector needs so badly now”, says Herben.
Call for more effective measures
That’s why they’ll continue to call on the European Commission for more effective measures. The EU member states are also asked for their support. After all, what the European Commission presented on 22 April is a proposal, not a definitive text.
“There’s an opportunity for the member states now. They will be consulted by the European Commission and asked for their input in order to contribute to and improve on the proposed measures. They can request further measures, too. Any member state that’s concerned about our sector must take action now”, says Mamias.
European Parliament members from various member states have also been contacted and they are preparing a letter to encourage the European Commission to come up with a better, more ambitious plan. This plan is based on a different legal framework with more space for tailor-made solutions and financial support to the European floriculture sector.