In an unprecedented move, a united coalition of 9 European-based organizations, representing all segments and sub-sectors of the flower & live plants sector in the EU and altogether a very significant voice for the thousands of companies across the EU sustaining a total estimated market value of 48 billion EUR and employing 760.000 people, have joined forces to urge the European Commission to activate as soon as possible extraordinary and temporary support measures that are urgently needed across the EU to help the sector survive the brutal impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Preliminary estimations suggest that the overall demand for flower & live plants has decreased by 80% across the EU with the introduction of lockdown measures and the immediate closure of non-essential specialised retail shops in most European countries. These unfortunate circumstances and the massive domino effect that has ensued have placed all businesses, segments and sub-sectors of the flower & live plants sector in an extremely vulnerable position as it was just entering its peak season during which 50 to 80% of its yearly turnover is realised.
In a joint letter addressed on 10 April to the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski, the signatory organisations call for:
· Urgent and temporary extraordinary EU tailor-made support measures to help producers and all operators from the sector across the EU simply survive the crisis until activity can re-start;
· A strong and concrete signal from the European Commission that flower & live plants do matter and are a major contributor to the well-being and quality of life of European citizens and to the climate change mitigation efforts and biodiversity protection;
· And a clear recognition at EU level that investing now in this sector to help it stay afloat will avoid further long-lasting and irremediable effects on the economic and employment activity remarkably created and sustained by the wide range of operators in this sector for decades without any intervention or support from the EU.
“Extraordinary circumstances do require extraordinary measures. This sector is a remarkably healthy and high-performing economic sector that brings joy, colour, hope, nature and well-being to all citizens across the EU and beyond. Failing to support it now as it faces a dramatic collapse across the EU would be a major and irremediable failure from the EU. We call on the European Commission to do its utmost to act swiftly and pragmatically and help this sector survive until the adequate conditions are there again for it to re-start its essential activities. “ urged the signatories to this letter in a united voice.
The signatories to the letter are: UNION FLEURS (International Flower Trade Association), ENA (European Nurserystock Association), ARELFH (Assembly of European Horticultural Regions), VBN (Association of Dutch Flower auctions), VAL’HOR – French inter-branch organisation for ornamental horticulture (growers, nurseries, seeds companies, garden centres, wholesalers, florists, agro-shops, landscape contractors and landscape architects), ANTHOS (Royal Trade Association for Flower Bulbs), CIOPORA (International Association of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Horticultural Varieties), FLEUROSELECT (International Association of breeders, producers and distributors of propagation material of ornamental plants) and ELCA (European Landscape Contractors Association)
Union Fleurs is the international umbrella organization representing and promoting the worldwide interests of national associations and companies active in the floricultural trade (cut flowers, foliage and pot plants). It is based in Brussels and has nowadays members in 20 countries worldwide (in Europe, Africa, Middle-East, South and North America, and Asia). Within its membership, Union Fleurs gathers over 3.000 companies active in the trade of cut flowers and pot plants worldwide, of which more than 1,500 floricultural traders and wholesalers in the EU. Members account for more than 80% of the total value of the worldwide trade of cut flowers and pot plants.
More information on Union Fleurs is available at: www.unionfleurs.org