European Commission acts to support poultry markets
Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza cases have been
detected in several member states of the EU - mainly in wild birds. This has
reinforced the negative impact on poultry meat in many countries. The impact on
prices has varied, but in general they are under pressure or have fallen
Since then, states Euro commissioner Mariann Fischer
Boel in a recent speech, the Commission has made use of the only instrument at
its disposal by increasing export refunds for poultry. However, the effects of
this were limited due to the fact that several third countries have introduced
import restrictions on our exports.
â€œIt is, however, quite clear that the
extent of the crisis cannot be handled effectively within the existing legal
framework of the Common Market Organisation for Poultryâ€, Fischer Boel said.
â€œThis unprecedented crisis is therefore not a normal market management
difficulty, but is directly linked to consumers reacting to the news related to
Avian Influenza. The drop in consumption and prices therefore needs to be
tackled by providing the Commission with the necessary legal framework to
â€œAt this stage it is not possible to identify which concrete
measures could be adopted. It is an examination that should be done on a case by
case basis and taking into account the measures already taken by member
â€œI think therefore that the first step in the process must be to fill
in the missing link. The Commission should be empowered to provide for concrete
measures to be taken both now and in future similar cases in the poultry sector.
â€œWhat seems to me the most appropriate and quickest solution is to extend
the scope of the existing provision in the CMO which provides for special market
support measures as a result of veterinary restrictions.
â€œThis would entail a
sharing of the financial burden between member states and the Community budget
and would only be introduced upon the request of a member state. Without being
too specific at this stage, such measures should attack the problem upstream and
reduce production potential in order to avoid a continuous problem downstream.
Other measures might also be considered. Budgetary considerations are also to be
taken into account.
In the meantime a number of member states have announced
or already have taken initiatives with regard to state aid. Fischer Boel said
the Commission will examine, in the light of the crisis, any proposal as quickly
as possible, taking account both of the need for rapid help and the need to
avoid distortions of competition.
The Euro commissioner said that the
Commission is acutely aware of the responsibility that it has in addressing the
crisis in the poultry sector. A combination of the existing instruments under
the CMO, asking the Council to give the Commission new powers and the recourse
to state aid should allow it to address the crisis more effectively head-on.
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