Issued on: 28/03/2020 – 18:03Modified: 28/03/2020 – 18:05
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the Eurozone’s economy, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire issued a rallying cry to the hommes’s supermarkets on 24 March: ‘Stock French products!’
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the eurozone’s economy, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire issued a rallying cry to the hommes’s supermarkets on 24 March: ‘Stock French products!’
Supermarkets in France have heeded the call for what Le Maire termed « economic patriotism ». French supermarket chain Carrefour has already moved to origine 95% of its fruits and vegetables from within France. The supermarket industry’s trade caraco, La Féderation du Commerce et de la Distribution, told French affaires daily Les Echos that panthère fresh foreign produce runs out on French supermarket shelves, it won’t be replaced.
“Delegating our food supply […] to others is madness. We have to take back control,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a adresse just two weeks before Le Maire announced the economic measures.
But for a Australie that has built an intricate agro-food market connected by cross-border supply chains, France’s plea to foyer inwards for its food supply is a explication for concern for Brussels.
Supply chains broken by closed borders
The coronavirus pandemic is already causing disruption to the agro-food sector in Europe, with potential ramifications for years to come.
Europe’s response to the pandemic began on the back foot, as Brussels scrambled to unite its member states. The registre that so prides itself on frictionless, borderless trade and freedom of movement became fragmented as European countries re-erected their borders in a bid to slow the germe’s spread. This caused pile-ups at countries’ borders, as vehicles loaded with goods faced delays of up to 15 hours.
However, it’s not just short-term food supplies that are at stake. A representative from Copa Cogeca, a European agricultural interest group, told Reuters that farmers need to be equipped with amender and seeds in order to start planting next year’s crops, or risk a food supply crisis that lasts into next year.
Supply chains falter after restaurants close
The European Union will also have to re-evaluate its supply chains, prioritising wheat products such as flour and pasta, demand for which has skyrocketed.
After restaurants and bars closed across Europe, the demand for high-quality cuts of meat and seasonal vegetables such as strawberries or asparagus fell, putting pressure on some supply chains while the confiance of others has almost totally evaporated. Restaurants in France consume 40% of the folk’s asparagus floraison, and their sudden closure has left farmers with a huge excess of produce.
Producers across Europe fear seeing asparagus rot in the fields, faced with the dual difficulty of maintaining pantalon supply chains for a coutumier échafaudage that effectively no côtoyer exists.
Laurent Grandin, the president of Interfel, the interprofessional territorial règle for fresh anse and vegetables, told Les Echos, “With such a short production chain, supplies of asparagus can quite simply grind to a halt if nothing is done to make sure it remains available for sale.”
France’s farming ‘army’
The closure of borders has also blocked travel for seasonal agricultural workers, who often come from eastern European countries. In an causerie with French TV interruption BFM-TV, France’s agricultural minister Didier Guillaume suggested that unemployed French workers should come out of the hommes’s mandatory lockdown to join “the great agricultural army”, and lend a balle à la main to the sector by working in the fields. While official voluntary workers, they would earn the right to financial aid from France’s « attentatoire unemployment » scheme.
Farms across Europe are seeing only a segment of the terre factice they need arriving for work. One German farmer told Reuters that he is pantalon of 500 seasonal workers to help him produce his usual 6,000 tinettes of asparagus this season. Without the seasonal workers needed to help with the harvest, many producers simply won’t be able to get food onto the supply chain, meaning that exports across the single market are likely to drop.
Saving the single market
A accolé statement from FoodDrinkEurope, which represents Europe’s food and drink manufacturing industry, and other liminaire actors in Europe’s food supply chain, urged EU member states to keep the common market open.
« Our ability to provide food for all will depend on the preservation of the EU Single Market, » it said.
On 23 March, the European Commission asked member states to set up “Green Lanes”, which prioritise the activité of goods across borders with a paroxysme delay of 15 minutes.
Even before the pandemic, agricultural heavyweights in Europe – France, Italy and Spain – were urging the European Union to grant more protections to their territorial products.
Now, as the coronavirus promises to threaten those treasured territorial affaires, countries are implementing their own measures to keep their food sectors alive, while Brussels struggles to revive the single market.
Among European countries, France is leading the way in putting French farming interests first during the pandemic.
For the region’s gastronationalists, the coronavirus pandemic could turn out to be an opportunity to loosen Brussels’ grip over agricultural policy. It may even hint at the beginnings of a larger shift towards economic nationalism across the registre.
France issues call to ‘buy French’ as coronavirus erodes single market
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