Brussels, 25 Apr 2006
The Agriculture Committee adopted on 25 April an own-initiative report on natural disasters (forest fires, drought and floods) that affect agricultural and forestry holdings and rural areas. The report suggests that improving Community action "involves creating a new model resting on three pillars [â€¦] involving the consistent integration of existing or imminent Community measures, national instruments in the Member States, and new instruments which need to be introduced."
The report was drafted by Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (PES, PT), who considers it "paradoxical that this negative development of public policies should coincide with an unmistakable increase in the number of unforeseen events causing financial loss to agricultural holdings." He said the EU needs to learn its lessons from the natural disasters of 2005 and must establish a new model, based on three pillars (a disaster management system, a risk management system and a stabilisation system). This would have as its goal to help the agricultural sectors and especially the forestry sector prevent and resolve problems related to natural catastrophes. In addition, the report "believes that the drawing up of risk maps and management plans should not be restricted to flooding [â€¦] but should cover drought and forest fires" as well.
The committee maintained its support for measures aimed at reducing the combustibility of forests and reiterated its call for the establishment of a European forestry strategy that would contain viable management measures and preventive actions for natural catastrophes. The report also emphasised the need for a Community programme for the protection against forest fires in the 2007-2013 financial perspective, to encourage preventive and management actions. This program will require adequate funding and must complement a structural agricultural policy, keeping in mind the specificities of Mediterranean forests.
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
In the Chair: Joseph Daul (EPP-ED, FR)
Procedure: Own initiative
Plenary vote: May I, Strasbourg