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European Commission - Press release
€ 17 million additional EU support for the promotion of fresh fruit and vegetables following the E-coli crisis
Brussels, 18 November 2011 - Today, the European Commission has approved 14 programmes in 11 Member States to promote fresh fruit and vegetables both on the internal market and in third countries. The total budget for the programmes, running for a period of three years, is € 34.1 million of which the EU contributes € 17.0 million (50%). This was one of a set of measures proposed by the Commission this summer to address the difficult market situation faced by this sector as a consequence of the E-coli crisis (see IP/11/829 ).
In light of the E-coli crisis that hit the fruit and vegetables sector, Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development pledged support to the sector by accelerating the approval procedures for promotion programmes. "This additional envelope comes in addition to the emergency measures put in place during the summer to help the fruit and vegetables sector come to terms with the e-coli crisis. In this period, the Commission has shown its capacity to react quickly and proportionately to support those producers most hit by the crisis. In the medium term, we can also provide measures to help producers climb back up the slope to where they were before the crisis" he stated today.
A Regulation was adopted in July which cut by more than half the length of the usual adoption procedure associated with co-financed programmes of this sort. Under this schedule, the Commission services received 17 programmes (worth a total budget of €40.1 million). 14 programmes were selected for co-financing out of which 11 target the internal market and 3 target third countries. Among Member States, Germany is the main target country, while third country programmes aim at the Chinese, Russian and Ukrainian markets.
The full list of programmes and budgets adopted today is available in the annex.
In 2000 the Council decided that the EU could assist in financing measures that provide information on or promote agricultural products and food on the EU single market and in third countries. The total budget available for these promotion programmes is €55 million a year. The EU finances up to 50% of the cost of these measures (up to 60% in programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables by children or concerning information on responsible drinking and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption). The remaining 50% are met by the professional/inter-branch organisations which proposed the measures and/or by the Member States concerned.
For promotion on the single market and in third countries, interested professional organisations can submit their proposals to the Member States twice a year. The Member States then send the list of programmes they have selected to the Commission along with a copy of each programme. Subsequently the Commission evaluates the programmes and decides whether they are eligible.
In addition, a decision concerning promotion programmes in third countries is expected to follow by the end of November 2011.