BELGIUM, Brussels. Europe's umbrella organisations are writing several letters to the EU Commission. Abrupt closures of restaurants cause demand to drop sharply. Especially beef and sheep meat is affected by a sales slump. Aid for private storage of dairy products as well as fine cuts and veal is also being called for.
In several incendiary letters to the Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture (DG AGRI), Dr Wolfgang Burtscher, the umbrella organisations urge for broad-based support specifically for milk producers and producers of beef, sheep and goat meat.
The letters of 7 April stress that these special aids should be financed by additional EU funds and not be taken from the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Copa and Cogeca point out that the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus and the associated COVID-19 diseases have led to drastic containment measures. In many places, these would have resulted in the abrupt closure of most catering facilities such as restaurants and canteens. As a result, the demand of important customers had collapsed.
The European beef sector is also currently being badly affected by the Corona incident, the two umbrella organisations report. With the loss of important sales markets, the market for high-quality cuts, including veal, has recorded a sharp drop in demand. Jean-Pierre Fleury, chairman of the Copa/Cogeca working group on beef, urged the Commission to consider activating market measures in addition to further restrictions against the import of premium cuts, especially from the Mercosur countries. Fleury also spoke out in favour of private storage aid for certain high-grade fine cuts and veal.
According to Copa/Cogeca, sales of sheep and goat meat are also particularly affected. The normally high seasonal demand for lamb during the Easter period has fallen away this year due to corona. At a time when there is normally an upward trend in prices, there is currently a downward trend.