By Laura Kemp • 01 April 2020 • 13:01
Photo of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Credit: Wikipedia By Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58384533
According to several sources in the primary sector, the lack of temporary workers due to the closure of borders within the EU during the coronavirus crisis has been causing a shortage of fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits since last week.
Given these circumstances, the European Commission has asked Spain and other member states to open their borders so that temporary workers may cross to help minimise the disruption to European food supply chains.
The European Government said on Monday that member states of the EU should allow the transit of thousands of temporary workers who participate in the agricultural sector, despite the national measures imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only is the supply of food in danger but also medical supplies, Reuters has reported. Countries must establish simple and rapid procedures which cater to workers and ensure they have appropriate medical check-ups.
This group of essential workers also includes health professionals, police and transporters. Around 1.5 million people live in one EU country whilst they work in another. For example, in Luxembourg, the majority of health personnel live in either France or Belgium.
The EC has also stressed the importance of seasonal workers, especially on farms, and that these must be classified as essential workers so they can gain the ability to travel across borders. States have been encouraged to exchange information on their different national needs in order to make mutually beneficial and joint strategies.
Since last week, only 8,000 of the 16,000 Moroccan seasonal workers who had been expected to pick strawberries and red fruits had entered Spain. Morocco closed its borders on March 12, another reason which hindered the transportation of these individuals.
It is estimated that Germany and France receive around half a million seasonal workers combined each year to pick fruits and vegetables. The European Association for Fresh Products has pointed out that it is unknown if these workers are willing to come due to the health emergency, and even if they are willing, if they can actually come.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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