Romania - Corona agri news - update
- Romania restricts the export of certain agri-food products
- The first flights with Romanian seasonal workers heading to Germany stir big debates.
- Rules for truck drivers are eased
Update - 10.04.2020
- Romania restricts the export of certain agri-food products
New Military Ordinance no.8/9.04.2020 published on 10.04.2020 forbids the export of the following agri-food products from Romania to third countries (during the State of Emergency period – expected to last until mid-May):
1. wheat and meslin - tariff code 1001; 2. barley - tariff code 1003; 3. oats - tariff code 1004; 4. corn - tariff code 1005; 5. rice - tariff code 1006; 6. wheat or meslin flour - tariff code 1101; 7. soy beans - tariff code 1201; 8. sunflower seeds - tariff code 1206; 9. sunflower seed, safflower or cottonseed oil and their fractions, whether or not refined - tariff code 1512; 10. cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose - tariff code 1701; 11. bakery, pastry and biscuit products - tariff code 1905; 12. cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soybean oil - tariff code 2304; 13. cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of vegetable fats or oils, other than those of headings 2304 or 2305 - tariff code 2306.
This list represents Annex 2 of Military Ordinance no.8/9/04.2020
IMPORTANT: intracommunity (EU) trade with the products listed above is possible ONLY if the Member State of destination proves that the products are meant for domestic or EU consumption! This rule is in force as of 10.04.2020.
The exact text of the relevant articles of this Military Ordinance reads as follows:
(1) During the state of emergency, the export for agri-food products from the list provided in annex no. 2 to this military ordinance
(2) The export procedures of the agri-food products provided in par. (1), in progress at the date of entry into force of this military ordinance, is suspended during the state of emergency.
(3) During the state of emergency, the activity of issuing phytosanitary certificates for the export of agri-food products from the list provided in annex no.2 is suspended.
(4) The measures shall be applied from the date of publication of this military ordinance in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I.
(1) Intra-Community acquisition of agri-food products from the list provided in annex no. 2 can be made only if the Member State proves that the purchased products are intended for own or Community consumption, and not for export.
- The first flights with Romanian seasonal workers heading to Germany stir big debates. Even the Romanian Prime Minister has been asked to explain why this is allowed.
The publication Romania Insider has an interesting article on this issue: Thousands of Romanian seasonal workers fly to Germany despite COVID-19 restrictions
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Romanian workers gathered at the international airport in Cluj-Napoca on Thursday, April 9, to fly to Germany where they will spend the next few months working in agriculture (picking strawberries and asparagus) and other temporary jobs.
Despite the risk of infection with the new coronavirus (Germany is the third country in Europe by the number of cases), Romanian workers have decided to leave just before the Easter holidays so that they can earn some money, given that most economic activities in Romania are suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mediafax wrote.
The workers who left from the Cluj-Napoca airport on Thursday were mainly from counties in Transylvania and Moldova. Many of them didn't know where they were supposed to fly and the social distancing restrictions imposed by the Romanian authorities were not respected, according to the Mediafax reporter.
More charter flights are scheduled to leave from Cluj to Germany on Saturday and Sunday.
Several aircraft with workers from Romania landed on Thursday at the airports in Berlin, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf, despite restrictions imposed by the German authorities for limiting the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to dpa, quoted by Agerpres.
German farmers are relieved that they can bring workers to pick up seasonal crops such as white asparagus. “As a result of this arrangement, our farmers can continue to operate,” said Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers Association.
Three aircraft with a total of 530 Romanian workers arrived at Berlin's Schonefeld airport. Other planes, also departing from Romania, landed in Dusseldorf and Hamburg. Workers underwent medical check-ups at the airport before actually going into isolation while working on farms.
Another plane is scheduled to arrive on Friday in the city of Karlsruhe, in southwestern Germany.
Despite suspending all flights to and from countries with many cases of COVID-19 infections, Romania has allowed seasonal workers to leave the country. The German government reached an agreement last week to take over 80,000 foreign seasonal workers under strict conditions, with arrivals expected to take place during April and May, according to dpa, quoted by Agerpres.
Source: www.romania-insider.com, 9.04.2020
Update - 9.04.2020
- Although there seems to be NL demand for Romanian seasonal workers, and also Romanian workers willing to work abroad, this is not reflected in EURES – the European Job Mobility Portal (https://ec.europa.eu/eures/public/en/homepage, including contact details of national coordination offices in all member states). Considering that at the moment, the only transport option for seasonal workers is by charter planes, Dutch farmers/associations would need to cooperate among themselves in order to arrange such charter flights.
- In the few villages/little towns where total lockdown was imposed due to quick spread of Covid-19, farmers are asking authorities to reconsider the restrictions which are affecting their work in the fields
- The Romanian Veterinary and Food Safety Authority has joined forces with public health authorities and started to perform Covid-19 tests, thus contributing to the national testing capacity which is below needs. As of 8.04.2020 Romania recorded 4761 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 220 deaths, 25556 people in quarantine and almost 90,000 people in self-isolation.
- Farmers are asking Romanian authorities to declare “state of natural disaster” due to severe drought affecting the country. Winter crops seem to be severely affected, despite fact that authorities are covering the costs of irrigation water and electricity for pumping. In many areas irrigation systems are not functional. There are voices (mainly politicians) already asking for a ban on RO agri-food exports
- Small farmers report that they have to destroy vegetable crops, as they cannot find outlets anymore. Many farmers’ markets are closed and in addition people tend to buy food which lasts longer, to the detriment of fresh products
Update - 6.04.2020
- Retailer Mega Image (Ahold-Delhaize) which has around 800 supermarkets in Romania, decided to first decrease prices for around 1000 most demanded products during this period including fresh produce, dairy, oil, sugar, pasta, personal hygiene and cleaning products. Then it will freeze prices on all its products until at least the end of April.
- Prolonged drought and late frost are currently additional concerns of the RO agri-food sector, on top of the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Appeal of farmers’ association for the government to officially acknowledge this situation.
- New provisions of Military Ordinance no.7/4.04.2020 with relevance to the agri-food sector (trade and movement):
All passenger flights to/from the Netherlands are suspended for a period of 14 days starting with April 5, 2020, 23.00. The same for Austria, Belgium, Swiss Confederation, United States of America, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Turkey and Iran and from these countries to Romania. Flight from/to Italy, Spain, France and Germany were already suspended.
For the transport of seasonal workers from Romania to other states, irregular (charter) flights CAN BE performed by all airline operators, with the approval of the competent authorities of both the departure and destination country (except for workers in health and social assistance).
The international road transport services for passengers are suspended for the whole duration of the state of emergency in relation to: Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Swiss Confederation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Rules for truck drivers are eased:
At the entrance into Romania, drivers of freight transport vehicles with maximum authorized capacity larger than 2.4 tonnes, who have no symptoms associated to COVID-19, fill in a declaration on their own responsibility, in which they declare the location where they can be contacted between travels. They are not subject to home isolation measures/quarantine, under the condition that the employer provides them with individual protection materials against COVID-19.
These apply accordingly also to EU drivers (> 2.4 tonnes) moving for professional reasons from Romania to another EU Member State and vice versa, regardless of whether they are travelling by the freight transport vehicle or by individual/own means. They must present, at the entrance into Romania, an employee certificate endorsed by the employer.
Drivers of freight transport vehicles > 2.4 tonnes who transit Romania are not obliged to fill-in the epidemiological declaration, if they follow these minimal conditions:
a) they only use the transit corridors and border crossing points at the ends of these corridors which are approved by the RO authorities, any deviation from these being prohibited;
b) the transit of the territory of Romania is made in the minimum time, without exceeding 48 hours from entering Romania, including periods for daily rest;
c) the parking of the vehicle is done exclusively in parking lots located on the transit corridors, and which are specifically marked.
(2) In case of non-compliance, the driver will be forced to enter quarantine for 14 days and bearing the related costs. The vehicle can be taken in this case by a representative of the owner.
(3) Upon entering Romania, the driver is obliged to apply a sticker on the windscreen, made available by the authorities and keep it on during transit.