28 April 2020
Author: Ron van der Ploeg
BRUSSELS, Belgium: On 27 April, 50 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) signed a joint letter to the EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski asking him to support Europe’s ornamental horticultural industry, which has been walloped by the COVID-19 crisis.
The MEPs urge the Commission to be more ambitious and pragmatic and to activate as soon as possible tailor-made and urgent financial support for the sector, going beyond the measures proposed last week which are not enough to keep the industry afloat.
The letter reads, “As Members of the European Parliament, we consider it the duty of the European Commission not to abandon this highly interdependent and very performing European sector and to invest in it as soon as possible to offer it a lifeline.”
The MEPs recall that the contribution to the EU’s economy is profound; the sector supports 760.000 jobs across the EU and has a total annual turnover of around €48 billion.
The list of signatory MEPs is headed by Annie Schreijer-Pierik (NL, EPP), Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez (ES, EPP) and Anne Sander (FR, EPP) and includes many members of the Agriculture Commission of the European Parliament, notably its Chair Norbert Lins (DE, EPP) but also a large number of prominent MEPs from across the political spectrum (S&D, ECR, RENEW Europe and ID political groups) and a broad European geographical coverage.
Meanwhile, sector bodies such as the European Nurserystock Association (ENA), the international flower trade association Union Fleurs, Italy’s National Association of Nursery Stock Exporters (ANVE), France’s Val’Hor and the association of Dutch flower auctions (VBN) acknowledge the “very appreciative of the active involvement of the many Members of the European Parliament who called upon the European Commission to help the EU flowers and live plants sector in a more effective and impactful way.”
They add, “This exceptional mobilisation and call for support by such a large and representative group of MEPs reflect how much the dramatic situation of the flower and live plants sector does appeal to many people and in the first place to the elected representatives of citizens across the EU.”
The letter aptly recalls how flowers and live plants positively contribute to the quality of life of EU citizens and have enormous potential in being part of the solution for the overall EU Green Deal ambitions by greening cities and offsetting the effects of climate change.