Below you will find a summary as prepared by AGRA FACTS of the Council discussion of EU Agricultural ministers on ‘minor uses’ on 16-17 December 2019.
SANTE AOB POINTS: Minor uses facility defended;
Minor uses facility defended [*14703/19]: EU Farm Ministers praised the work of the Paris-based Minor Uses Coordination Facility*, which works on finding pesticide applications in less-widely grown crops, but not all national capitals have been willing to stump up the funding it needs.
The facility is based at the European & Mediterranean Plant Protection facility in Paris & started work in Sept 2015. The Commission, NL, DE & FR set up the facility with the aim of enabling farmers in the EU to produce high-quality crops by filling minor uses gaps through collaboration to improve the availability of chemical & non-chemical tools. Since April 2018 the facility has been dependent on voluntary contributions from Member States, but only DE, FR, AT, BE, DK, FI, NL, SE, SK, CY, IE, LT, LV & SI (as well as Switzerland) had paid their share. Funding for 2020 has not been secured, putting the future of the facility at risk.
Making her debut appearance in the Council chamber, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told Ministers she wanted to build a partnership to “face the challenges of food safety.” “We all agree the minor use facility is extremely important & needs to be supported,” she noted. If all national capitals contributed to the facility then “we will not be facing the situation of insecurity for something that is very important,” the former Member of the House of Representatives (2006-2019) reminded delegates.
During the pre-lunch discussion, Finnish Minister Jari Leppä said that minor uses continued to be very important for niche crops with a high economic value, as well as for exceptional uses in major crops. The outgoing Council chair stressed the importance of collaboration in identifying minor use gaps. Danish Minister Mogens Jensen acknowledged the important role of the facility, while Copenhagen had contributed to its financing. He called on all stakeholders to ensure its funding for the next five years. Julia Klöckner said Germany was also in favour of long-term funding for the facility, which was “something we would very much call on Member States to support.” “If we want to talk about sustainability this is a paradigm,” she said. Portugal said that it was very important to ensure that the facility was working, as minor uses were very important for the country’s farmers.
Sweden’s State Secretary Per Callenberg bemoaned the lack of plant protection products, particularly for minor uses & backed the call for long-term backing for the facility. His colleague Luis Planas said that authorisations for minor uses were a very important issue for Spain. He was “in favour of any initiative, which would promote plant protection products for these uses,” & was prepared to provide support. Slovenia also backed the financing of the facility, which made an important contribution to pest management. The delegation called for the legal framework for its funding to be drawn up. The former underground electrical repair mechanic at AS Eesti Põlevkivi Arvo Aller, who was appointed Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs on Dec 10, felt the work of the facility was “highly important,” complaining about the lack of plant protection products, which was “especially important in fruit & vegetables.” The Dutch delegation recognised the need to cut the use of chemicals, but pointed out that some plant protection products remained necessary. Slovakia regretted that not all countries had met their obligations with regard to funding the facility. The Irish delegation said Dublin had been one of the first to support the facility & emphasised the important role of fruit & vegetables in the “continued health & welfare of EU citizens.”
The Poles supported the idea of being able to grant EU-wide authorisations for minor uses. Growers must be provided with a wide range of products at a time when active substances were being withdrawn & the risk of resistance was growing. Warsaw would not be able to contribute - much to the chagrin of Kyriakides - but officials did not rule out providing funds in the future. Italy's Teresa Bellanova underlined it was important to have “long-term financing,” while Makis Voridis said Greece had been “particularly active in meetings for coordination of this exercise.” He agreed on the need to “solve the problem of ongoing funding.” Czech Vice-Minister Jiří Šír described minor uses as “an issue of key importance.” They were indispensable, for example, for the production of Czech hops. Prague was looking into ways in which it could join the activities of the facility. Cypriot Minister Costas Kadis recognised the “need to strengthen this coordinating body,” which “finds solutions for small-scale producers.” It was important to find the necessary funding, some of which could come from research funds. Austria said the work of the facility was vital & that funding needed to be put in place.
For more details about the AGRA FACTS publication, please drop a line to Rose O’Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual funding of the MUCF
Initially, the EU Minor Uses Coordination Facility (MUCF) was jointly funded by the European Commission and by the governments of France, Germany and the Netherlands for a period of 3 years (from 15 April 2015 to15 April 2018).
Since 15 April 2018, the funding of the MUCF is fully reliant on the voluntary assessed contributions from Member countries (EU Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland). You can find below an overview on the amount received (blue) and committed (orange) from Member countries for 2018, and so far for 2019 and 2020. The financial budget for 2019 and 2020 is estimated at EUR 500 000.
The MUCF would like to thank the Member countries who have contributed for 2018, 2019 and already for 2020 and calls other Member countries to join for this contribution.
Funding for 2018
The funding for the remaining period of 2018 was guaranteed by voluntary contributions from: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland up to an amount of EUR 309 500.
You can find a more detailed financial overview in the annual report 2018 that only covers the period from 15 April 2018, (the expiry of the EU grant agreement), until 31 December 2018 (click here).
Funding for 2019
The contributing Member countries for 2019 are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland up to an amount of EUR 335 000.
The financial budget for 2019 was prepared under the assumption that all member countries have paid their contributions by end 2019 and that a deficit can be covered by carry-over from previous years.
At the end of 2019 almost all contributions have been paid. More information can be found in the budget planning as part of the work plan 2019
Funding for 2020
In July 2019 all Member countries have been approached by the MUCF for a voluntary assessed contribution for 2020. The financial budget for 2020 is estimated at EUR 500 000.
The following countries have already committed or paid their contribution in advance: Austria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.
As many Member countries acknowledge the importance of the work of the MUCF we expect more Member countries to contribute. Lack of funding can have serious consequences for the minor use work in all Member countries.
Countries may pay their contribution to the MUCF alongside their EPPO contribution (as long as the contribution for the MUCF is clearly separated from the EPPO contribution). For more information, you can contact the MUCF at email@example.com or EPPO at firstname.lastname@example.org
The continuity of the MUCF can only be guaranteed with sufficient member countries that support the MUCF financially. In other scenarios with less contributions there will be an effect on the amount of work that can be done, staffing, EUMUDA and/or reimbursement of expenses for Expert Groups.
A continued funding of the MUCF is critical to support the sustainability of speciality crop production in Europe!