EU Member States will be able to use part of the €350m conditional adjustment aid allocated under the recent EU aid package to sectors other than the dairy sector, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan has said.

Speaking following the announcement of the aid package in Brussels this week, the Commissioner said that the €350m aid is "not just confined to the dairy sector."

"It can apply in Member States, if they wish to do so, in other sectors as well if those sectors are under pressure.

"It gives an opportunity for Member States as well to allocate the same amount if they wish to do so in relation to this envelope of money."

The Commissioner also said that this money can be used in a flexible way by Member States if they want to put more of this money into the supply adjustment scheme on milk deliveries.

"So, there is a possibility of using additional monies from this particular heading [the €350m conditional adjustment aid] to support the €150m heading as well."

Earlier this week, the Commissioner announced a €500m aid package for the EU agriculture sector with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

The package included this €350m conditional adjustment aid measure which is to be implemented by Member States – from which Ireland will receive €11.1m - and a €150m EU-wide measure to support voluntary reduction in milk production.

There were three main elements to the latest package:

  • A EU-wide scheme to incentivise a reduction in milk production (€150m).
  • Conditional adjustment aid to be defined and implemented at Member State level out of a menu proposed by the Commission (€350m that Member States will be allowed to match with national funds, thus potentially doubling the level of support being provided to farmers).
  • A range of technical measures to provide flexibility (e.g. on voluntary coupled support), cash-flow relief (e.g. through an increase in the amount of the advances for both direct and area-based rural development payments) and reinforce the safety net instruments (by prolonging intervention and private storage aid for Skimmed Milk Powder).

The precise details of all the different measures will be finalised in the coming weeks, in consultation with Member State experts.