Recession-threatened France lashes out at EU as bloc solidarity crumbles with lack of support for wine producers and farmers during Coronavirus crisis

FRANCE has warned it is “disappointed” with the EU over its failure to come up with concrete measures to support farmers and wine producers facing a sharp fall in sales due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Brussels expects the bloc to go into a deep recession this year because of the health crisis, which has paralysed economic activity across the 27 member states.
Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has repeatedly called on the European Commission to help milk and wine producers who face a surplus of production due to slack demand as vital restaurant and export trade has been cut.
French dairy farmers fear the drop in demand will lead to a huge surplus of milk just as the spring grazing season boosts cow’s productivity, with the risk of prices crashing.
At the end of March, 40 million litres of milk were in surplus and had to either be redirected towards storage for butter and milk powder or dumped.
Weaker demand and staff absences due to the epidemic have also disrupted factories in the dairy sector and elsewhere in the food industry.

For French wine producers, the loss of demand from disrupted export markets and closed restaurants.
“The wine sector has already suffered a lot with the US taxes,” Mr Guillaume said.
The bloc’s chief agricultural official Janusz Wojciechowski, however, has said that billions of euros in unspent rural development could be diverted to struggling farmers.

Member states, however, strongly disagree over how much help should be provided at EU level to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis.
The bloc’s industry chief Thierry Breton said on Tuesday that an economic support package to help the EU recover from the crisis could need to be worth around €1.6 trillion.

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Damon Mitchell

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