Farmers wishing to establish an orchard or replace old fruit trees have encountered problems in obtaining European funding for this purpose under the 2014-2020 national fruit-growing programme. Following studies by specialist bodies, a list of potentially eligible zones has been drawn up, points being awarded based on the locality/county in which they were situated, so as to ensure that funding is allocated to those suitable for fruit growing. However, the criteria applicable are vague, unclear and disputed. As a result, preference has been given to foothill localities that do not meet the necessary climatic and soil conditions, while those with a tradition of fruit-tree cultivation have been excluded. Such a state of affairs is clearly unsatisfactory and the President of the Romanian League of Farmers’ Associations has accordingly taken the matter up with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. However, this has failed to produce the anticipated result and the zoning arrangements have remained unchanged.
In the Commission’s view, what action should be taken by the Romanian authorities to assist farmers affected by zoning errors?
What mechanisms can be used by the Commission to remedy orchard zoning errors?