ECA: Quick EU action helped ensure food ended up on our plates during the pandemic

The EU reacted quickly to the threat the COVID-19 pandemic posed to agricultural supply chains. The different EU measures helped contain the disruption to the agri-food sector. However, if a similar crisis occurs in future, EU support would be more effective if it provided more targeted aid to those sectors and farmers really in need, the European Court of Auditors conclude in a report published today.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted agricultural product supply chains from farm to fork. Product transportation, particularly across borders, was hampered. Supermarkets faced supply issues. In response, the EU introduced several measures, including guidelines aiming to ensure an efficient food supply chain in the EU and qualifying seasonal workers as “critical”; direct support for farmers and SMEs; state aid facilitations; and exceptional market intervention measures.

The European agri-food sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Joëlle Elvinger, the ECA member who led the audit. “Unfortunately, this is not a one-off event: the Russian war in Ukraine has also posed a significant challenge to the security of our food supply. We hope our work can contribute to improving the design and targeting of future EU crisis response measures in support of the agri-food sector.” 

Read the Special report of The European Court of Auditors in its entirety here