Little progress in EU-UK negotiations
The EU and the UK carried out the second round of negotiations on the future relationship via more than 40 video conference calls.
The UK confirmed that it will reject any extension to the transition period.
The EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier stressed that as a result of this decision, there will be a lot of work to be done between now and June 30.
He highlighted that there are eight months left to complete three areas of work simultaneously: 1) ensuring the Withdrawal Agreement is properly implemented; 2) preparation for the negative economic consequences that will come at the end of the transition period; 3) negotiate a future partnership.
This round of negotiations enabled identification of areas where the EU and UK are getting closer to agreements on a technical level.
However, Mr Barnier said that progress in four areas has been particularly disappointing: 1) the level playing field; 2) overall governance of the future partnership; 3) police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; 4) fisheries.
Michel Barnier finished by saying that the current health, social and economic crisis upon us currently takes our responsibilities as European and UK citizens further to work and build a sustainable partnership.
The next round of negotiations is due to take place the week commencing 11 May.
Dutch government announces support for the horticulture sector
Following a relaxation of State Aid Rules, on 15 April the Dutch Minister for Agriculture announced a €600m support package for the Netherland’s horticulture and ornamental sectors.
In practice the fund is expected to provide compensation for 70 percent of a business’s loss in turnover (up to a maximum amount) with the other 30 percent of losses being borne by the business itself.
Further details of the scheme and how it will work is expected to be announced later this week before being sent to the European Commission for approval based on Art 107(2)(b) TFEU.
Alongside this, a €50m aid package was also announced to provide compensation for chipping-potato growers.
These growers will be compensated for the amount of potatoes they still have in storage.
The fee is determined on the basis of the one million tons of potatoes, which can no longer be processed into chips this season.
The fee is expected to amount to up to 40 percent of the average market value of the chips from September 2019 to February 2020.