European Commission downplays fears of food shortage amid skyrocketing energy prices – POLITICO

A senior European Commission official played down fears that soaring energy costs could cause food shortages in the coming months, after MEPs warned on Tuesday of the economic pressures farmers face.

Farmers have seen the price of artificial fertilizers soar amid a wider energy crisis across Europe as natural gas, a fossil fuel, is a major ingredient in nitrogen-based fertilizers.

“It is clear that there is a huge problem here, but we have to look at it in perspective,” said Michael Scannell, deputy head of the Commission’s agriculture department.

Scannell was responding to concerns expressed by Members of Agriculture of the European Parliament commission, like Romanian Daniel Buda of the European People’s Party, who said there could be a “very serious food crisis” if the EU does not take urgent action to mitigate the rising costs of fertilizers in the months to come. come, especially since farmers are now sowing their winter wheat crops.

“We have 500 million consumer citizens in the EU – they need to be fed. And I am very worried, ”said Buda during the committee meeting, warning that small farms could go bankrupt if the EU does not intervene.

Scannell said the Commission regularly analyzes agricultural markets at a granular level. “We are very close to the ground and the evidence to date does not give us any reason to be alarmist,” he said.

The Commission is wondering whether anti-dumping tariffs on imports of liquid fertilizers from countries like Russia should be abolished in order to increase the supply of fertilizers on the European market. However, this would remove the protection of European fertilizer producers.

Lifting anti-dumping measures on imports alone would in no way significantly reduce fertilizer prices for EU farmers, Scannell said.

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