The European Commission welcomes the publication of the new Regulation on promotion of agricultural products in the Official Journal today, following formal approval by Member States and the European Parliament earlier in recent weeks.
Intended as a tool for opening up new markets and diversifying trading partners, the new promotion policy will not only see a significant increase on the available EU budget, but will also be supported in future by a European executive agency.
Welcoming the new rules, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan stated today:
"One of the Union’s strengths lies in the quality and diversity of its agri-food products. We have seen steady growth in our exports in recent years - to 110 billion EUR - and I am optimistic that the agri-food sector can be an important motor for creating further jobs and growth within the European Union. In today's competitive environment, I am convinced that the new promotion regime and the trebling of the dedicated budget (to 200 million EUR a year) will boost our medium-term capacity to find new markets, diversify existing ones and explain to consumers in Europe and around the world the standards of EU agricultural products, as well as the great traditions and diversity available within the EU."
Agreed in record time by the co-legislators, the new policy will target promotion activities with an EU added value based on a genuine strategy established at European level, bring simplification and reduce red tape.
The current budget of 61 million EUR a year will rise to 200 million EUR with higher rates of co-finding available.
Under the new rules, national co-funding will disappear, with EU co-financing rates raised to 70% for simple programmes presented by an organisation from one Member State, 80% for multi Member State programmes and programmes targeting third countries, 85% for crisis measures.
Other changes include a wider range of eligible products (including processed products such as bread or pasta), and the possibility for Producer Organisations to participate.
With the common denominator 'Enjoy, it´s from Europe', the policy aims to help the sector's professionals break into or consolidate international markets and make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers.
The new regulation will enter into force on 1 December 2015.