Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, declared: "In line with what was promised by President Juncker, all of these measures are aimed at providing a practical response to areas which have been devastated by these terrible events and to demonstrate solidarity with those affected. It is of course understood that none of these measures by themselves can go anywhere near compensating for the loss of life and property experienced by so many people."
In the affected regions, Italian authorities will be able to complement the part of the €21 million of EU funds received in July 2016 that they have earmarked for earthquake-stricken regions with national fund up to 200%, thus tripling the available financial support.
The Commission will increase the level of advance payments for certain measures under rural development from 85 % to 100%. To reduce the pressure on local administrations, this possibility will be complemented with the postponement from March to June 2017 of the date for reporting on controls for certain rural development measures.
In addition, the Commission will also respond positively to the Italian request to extend the areas for which the Commission has already authorised advance payments for some direct payment schemes and allowed the payment of certain rural development measures to be brought forward.
EU rural development policy can offer funding for the restoration of the agricultural and forestry potential damaged by recent earthquakes. The re-allocation of funds to reinforce the existing available measures may be quickly adopted. The Commission expects the concerned regions to submit proposals for changes to their programmes, and stands ready to help.
These support measures were presented during a meeting held today in Brussels on the margins of the Agriculture Council by Commissioner Hogan with Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy. During a wide-ranging discussion, Commissioner Hogan expressed his heartfelt condolences for the losses and hardships endured by the populations of central Italy following the recent earthquakes, which caused extensive damage to farming communities in Marche, Abruzzo, Lazio and Umbria.
Under the measure covering restoring agricultural production potential damaged by the catastrophic event and introduction of appropriate prevention actions, which is already programmed in the relevant programmes, the Italian authorities might also finance temporary shelters for livestock, or any other suitable investments, as a way to preserve production potential.
Rural development aid is available for investments related to basic services and village renewal in the rural areas affected by the earthquakes.
Italian authorities have already announced that they will use part of the amount received as part of the July support package as a one-off support per head of livestock (bovine, sheep/goat, pigs) as income to overcome the year hit by the natural disaster to be paid only in the municipalities affected by the earthquake (co-financed EU/Member State).