23 Feb 2016
PHIL HOGAN’S SPEECH ON EFSI AND INVESTMENT PLAN FOR EUROPE – 23 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
- Farming employs 25 million people in the EU, while managing 46% of our territory. It also contributes to the broader economy through its linkages with other sectors. The agriculture and food sectors combined produce a value added of €420 billion a year in the EU. Agriculture is the EU’s biggest employer.
- On the forestry side, European forests and other wooded land now cover 178 million hectares. This equates to 41 % of the EU’s land area, almost the same surface as agriculture.
- Forest-based industries provide nearly 5 million jobs in the EU and produce a total added value of €135 billion a year.
- At the European Commission, we strongly believe that the agri-food sector can make a decisive contribution to EU growth and jobs creation in the coming years. But we have our eyes wide open and we know this will not happen without investment.
- The Commission estimated that in 2014, the funding gap in the agricultural sector was between 2 and 9 billion Euro, varying across Member States. I think we can all agree that this is not good enough.
- So we are doing something about it. The creation of jobs and growth through investments in the rural and agri-food economies is now a clear goal, reflected for example in our Rural Development priorities.
- And the Investment Plan for Europe is now taking bold steps to address this issue at the highest level. For agriculture and rural areas, the main areas of interest under the Plan are precision farming, the bio-economy and circular economy, broadband infrastructure, water and irrigation infrastructure and access to finance.