The European banana sector, represented by the Association of European Banana Producers (APEB), to which Asprocan belongs, has asked the national governments of Spain, France and Portugal, as well as the regional governments of the outermost regions (OR's), to respect the commitments made and to keep a "firm position" before the new presidency of the European Commission regarding the budgets of the Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI).
Asprocan pointed out in a statement that on October 31, the European Commission published two proposals for transitional regulations, one to guarantee the continuity of the payment of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aid for the year 2021, and another on budgetary discipline.
Due to the delay in interinstitutional negotiations in Brussels, the legislative proposals for the CAP for the period 2021-2027 will not come into force on the date when it was originally meant to do so (January 1, 2021), while the current programming period (2014-2020) will come to an end on December 31, 2020.
In the first of these proposals for transitional regulations, the European Commission maintains its proposal for a 3.9% cut in the POSEI budget for the year 2021, based on the same reduction that it included in its legislative proposals of June 2018 for the period 2021-2027.
If maintained, this proposal would contravene the commitments previously made by the European Commission. On October 27, 2017, its then president Jean-Claude Juncker made a statement in Guyana saying that the POSEI programs for agriculture would continue. For his part, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said before a delegation of 180 representatives of producers from the OR's meeting in Brussels on June 26, 2018 that "the Commission will support any proposal from the Member States or the European Parliament whose objective is to prevent the cutting back of the POSEI program for agriculture."
Moreover, these commitments were backed by the three Ministers of Agriculture of France, Spain and Portugal, who, within the framework of the European Banana Joint Committee, sent a letter to the then commissioner Hogan asking for the budgets of the CAP and of the POSEI to be kept at the current level after 2020.
Respecting Juncker's commitments
On April 1, 2019, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture of the European Parliament approved to maintain the POSEI budget at the current level in the period 2021-2027, and that this should be reflected in the transitional regulations for the year 2021, which are in the process of being adopted.
More recently, Asprocan learned that on November 5, 2019, MEPs Isabel Carvalhais (Portugal, S&D), Anne Sander (France, EPP) and Irène Tolleret (France, Renew Europe) invited the European Commission to review its proposals for transitional regulations, so as to respect the commitments towards the OR's made by President Juncker and Commissioner Hogan.
The European Commission has said that the proposals for transitional regulations must be adopted before the summer of 2020, so that they can come into force on January 1, 2021.