EC Vice President: Europe needs to increase food production

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Trade, spoke about how to reduce the negative impact of the war in Ukraine on the cost of food in EU.

According to Dombrovskis, Europe needs to increase food production, as well as consider temporarily waiving certain environmental requirements and biofuels. BB.LV.

He assured that the EU is not threatened by food supply problems, as shown by the European Commission’s food security assessment. To a large extent, Europe is self-sufficient, but in developing countries a similar problem may arise. Dombrovskis draws attention to the need to consider how to provide assistance to these states. It should not be discounted that the EU may face the negative social consequences of rising food prices.

Given the above factors, the European Commission recommends that this problem be addressed: by increasing food production this year and by temporarily waiving certain environmental requirements. For example, decide how much land to leave without cultivation, how much to define as natural areas. Dombrovskis notes:

“The European Union has strict requirements in all these areas, and we allow for possible derogations. We also encourage member countries to consider the issue of mandatory bio-fuel additives. As we know, first-generation biofuels don’t really provide much of an environmental benefit, and at this point, it’s worth thinking more about how to use farmland more for food production rather than for fuel.”

At the same time, when asked how to assess in this context the initiative rejected in Latvia that the regulation providing for an increase in the proportion of mandatory biocomponents in commercial fuel may not come into force from April 1, Dombrovskis stressed that the EC does not give specific instructions to member countries:

“We are simply calling on countries to assess how much of a priority now is to increase biosupplements, and whether it would be more important to use agricultural land for food production, reducing pressure on food prices.”

The question also touched upon the possibility of reducing the rate of value-added tax on food products. discussedto which Dombrovskis noted that the member states of the European Union have such an opportunity:

“It is an independent choice for each member country whether to provide targeted assistance to those groups that need it, or to go for a general tax cut. Of course, fiscal aspects also need to be considered in this case.”

As has been repeatedly reported, including by our publication, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to an increase in inflationincluding rising prices for food. The main reason was that Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other food products. Prices energy and fertilizer costs for food production also increased.

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