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At meeting with Agriculture Commissioner Hogan, PM Dancila requests EC support to reduce impact of African swine fever

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Inquam Viorica Dăncilă

Premier Viorica Dancila said on Thursday that she asked EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan to make sure the European Commission provides full technical and financial support for the mitigation of the dire consequences of the African swine fever outbreak on Romanian agriculture. 

"I presented to Mr. Commissioner the situation created by the bout of African swine fever, which has economic and financial, but also social effects. In this context, we asked Mr. EU Commissioner to make sure that the European Commission provides full technical and financial support to reduce the devastating impact the African swine fever has had on Romanian agriculture," Dancila said at the Victoria Palace, during joint statements with Commissioner Phil Hogan. 

The prime minister emphasized that European assistance is of key importance to Romania, given the high share of agriculture in the Romanian economy. 

"Suffice to mention that statistical data shows that agriculture has made a substantial contribution to Romania's economic growth," Dancila said. 

The prime minister said that at the meeting with Phil Hogan she also presented the projects envisaged by the government for the modernization of Romanian agriculture. 

"In the first place, I presented Mr. Commissioner a series of actions taken at government level with a view to developing a competitive agriculture. I explained that this is the first time that farm subsidies have been duly allocated. We discussed the program for the rehabilitation of the main irrigation infrastructure According to the government program, we plan having 2 million hectares of irrigated farmland in two years. We also presented the measures to develop the national anti-hail system," Dancila said. 

The head of the government also discussed with the European official Romania's major goals for its term at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and reaffirmed the importance our country attaches to the cohesion of the European project. 

"In this respect, the common agricultural policy along with the cohesion policy plays an important role in generating economic growth and economic and social convergence. In this context, we reiterated Romania's position on the main topics covered by the Common Agricultural Policy. We are in favor of continuing the convergence of direct payments, which will help reduce differences between the direct subsidies in Eastern member states and Western European countries. At the same time, we consider that a more recent eligible surface should be used in calculating the subsidy, specifically figures from 2018, not 2016. We support maintaining an adequate level of the Common Agricultural Policy budget, as reducing it risks deepening the development gaps among the regions, as well as among member states. We want funding allocated to rural development to increase. We consider that the 16 percent cut and the intention to increase the national co-financing rate will seriously affect the development of mountain areas, disadvantaged areas, ecological agriculture, climate and environmental measures, investment in innovation and knowledge development," Dancila explained. 

She said that Romania opposes plans for the compulsory capping of agricultural subsidies. 

''Such a measure would seriously affect large, competitive farms, but medium-sized ones too, without really contributing to the restructuring of uncompetitive farms. Our proposal is to leave it to member states to decide on whether to cap or redistribute payments, with a 25-30 percent increase for large farms. We further support the continuation of the application of payment schemes for young farmers and small farms with coupled support, as well as a simplified policy aimed at cutting red-tape. I am convinced that together we will be able to continue at national level the good cooperation we had at European level, and I trust that Mr. EU Commissioner will have an objective approach regarding Romania," Dancila concluded.

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