March 2, 2021

48 decisive hours to avoid cutting aid




The Canarian banana It is one of the best known and most consumed fruits in Spain, on which the economy of 15,000 Canarian families depends and which generates up to 12,000 direct jobs and 4,500 indirect jobs in this archipelago, especially on the islands of La Plama, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. In the next 48 hours, the banana sector will play the last match ball to prevent Brussels from cutting 3.9% of the aid of the Community Program for the Support of Agricultural Productions (POSEI), which would mean 10 million euros less per year between 2021 and 2027. This would reduce the amount in support of agriculture that the archipelago receives annually from € 268 million to € 258 million. A cut that, from the sector, they consider would seriously impact their activity and that will be decided at the meeting that will be held on Friday by representatives of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission (“Trilogues”).

In a meeting with the media this Wednesday, the representatives of ASPROCAN (Association of Organizations of Banana Producers of the Canary Islands), have asked the President of the Government Pedro Sanchez let him play all his cards to convince the European Council chaired this semester by Germany. In this regard, the manager of the association that groups producers Sergio Cáceres explained that the banana sector already has the support of the Eurochamber, which “by a vast majority has requested that the provision of POSEI be maintained, and even expanded.” In addition, Cáceres added, the European Commission with the active support of the commissioners of France, Portugal, Spain and Greece has opened the door to ‘Offset’ this cut with European funds. “The Commission’s yes is more of a provision, come to this meeting more as an arbitrator”, qualified the ASPROCAN representative, who focuses on the European Council.

In this sense, he warned that the European Council – which brings together the Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union – “Does not have a definite idea” and the German presidency will prevent issues such as bananas from generating vetoes on other issues. “Interest fluctuates”, Cáceres has warned in line with the above. For this reason, the president of ASPROCAN Domingo Martín has demanded that Pedro Sánchez “Mobilize” between now and Friday, so that the POSEI is maintained. And even update after 13 years frozen. In this regard, Cáceres has recognized the fear that the approval of the cut will lead to the “progressive dismantling of aid” to an activity that contributes 430 million euros to the economy of the islands.

A battle in which Spain is not alone, but also affects the other countries benefiting from the POSEI created in 2007 to support the primary sector of the so-called Outermost Regions of the European Union (the Spanish Canary Islands; the French Martinique, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Mayotte and Reunion as well as the Portuguese archipelagos of Azores and Madeira). In this sense, the Canarian Banana represents 70% of the European banana production with a penetration of 96% in the Spanish market compared to the competition from bananas.

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