The European Commission has approved 41 new programmes to promote agricultural products in the EU and on third country markets, worth 130 million EURO over 3 years, half of which (65m EURO) comes from the EU budget. This includes an extra 30m€ of EU funds made available by the Commission following the Russian ban on imports of EU food products last August.
Commenting on these new programmes, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, Phil Hogan, said: "Promoting EU agri-food products on global markets is a strong and proactive response to the Russian Ban. The increased funding for promotion measures will continue to contribute to the success story of the growth in exports of high quality EU agri-food products on the world market"
The selected programmes, from 18 different Member States, cover a variety of product categories, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, quality products (PDOs, PGIs and TSGs), organic products, olive oil, meat, as well as combination of different product categories. Some 17 of these programmes target the internal EU market and 24 target third countries. This is a significant change in comparison to the previous wave of programmes, where nearly two thirds of the schemes targeted the internal market. This is most likely due to the additional 30 million EURO announced by the European Commission last year in the wake of the Russian ban on imports of certain EU agricultural products as a measure to help find alternative markets. In spite of the restrictions imposed unilaterally by the Russian Federation, total EU agri-food exports to third countries increased by 2% in value in the period August-December 2014 compared to the same period of the previous year.
Third countries and regions targeted are: Middle East, North America, South-East Asia, China, Japan, South Korea, Africa, Russia, Belarus, Kazakshtan, Australia and Norway. Moreover, five of the accepted programmes are so-called multi-programmes, comprising joint promotion campaigns by organisations from different Member States.
See LINK for the full list of programmes and budgets adopted is available in the annex.
The measures financed can consist of public relations, promotional or publicity campaigns, in particular highlighting the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, labelling, animal welfare or environmentally-friendly production methods. These measures can also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the EU quality systems (PDO, PGI and TSG), on organic farming, and information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines. The EU finances up to 50% of the cost of these measures (up to 60% in certain cases), the remainder being met by the professional/inter-branch organisations which proposed them and in some cases also by the Member States concerned.
This wave of programmes is the first of 2 waves for 2015, the last schemes under the existing regulation (3/2008). From 1 December 2015, the new rules agreed in last year's reform of EU promotion policy will enter into force. As well as a gradual increase in the EU budget contribution to 200m EURO per year, the new regulation (1144/14) will adjust the co-funding rules (no national co-financing & higher rate of EU-funding, even higher rate for "multi programmes"), and introduce simpler procedures (single approval process, wider scope of beneficiaries and eligible products, annual work programme and calls for proposals).