The Bulgarian government intends to submit an official request to the European institutions, calling for a revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework and the harmonization of EU subsidies for all agricultural producers.
This was announced by the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Javor Gechev, on Wednesday (March 8).
“There are mutliple reasons for this. First, convergence in the EU has slowed down too much. So far it has been normal that we have been waiting for alignment for many years, but since the war in Ukraine we have noticed that the countries on the eastern flank of the EU are suffering the consequences much more than the western countries,” he said.
The minister stressed that countries on Europe’s eastern flank would receive lower subsidies, undermining EU solidarity.
“With this conscious decision, we have an official position of the state, with which we send a clear signal to the European institutions regarding the needs of Bulgarian agricultural producers,” explained Gechev.
Bulgaria expects support “already now, this year.”
Farmers from Member States that joined the EU after 2004 receive less EU subsidies on average. Agricultural subsidies in Bulgaria have increased steadily, but are below those of older Member States.
From 2023 to 2027, Bulgarian farmers are to receive 4.4 billion euros in direct subsidies for land and another 3.6 billion euros for investments. Traditionally, the highest subsidies go to grain producers, who also own the largest areas.
For years, farmers and their associations in the newer EU member states have been pushing for their subsidies to be brought up to the level in western Europe.