Brexiting Britain is key beneficiary of EU animal diseases money

By Diana Yordanova, in Brussels

- Last updated on GMT

Brexiting Britain is key beneficiary of EU animal diseases money

Related tags European union Beef Lamb Livestock Pork Poultry

The European Commission has announced its latest funding for helping European Union (EU) member states fight animal diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis, rabies, bovine brucellosis, African swine fever and lumpy skin disease, by allocating more than €140 million (m) for 2018.

The funding will support 134 veterinary programmes designed to eradicate, control and monitor these diseases.

When announcing the budget, EU health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said the financing showed “that we are taking animal and plant health very seriously”​. He said the money would help national veterinary authorities “identify and act in a timely manner against outbreaks that could have a serious impact on animal and human health, economy and trade"​.

Commission officials have noted how African Swine Fever (ASF) has caused thousands of domestic pigs to be slaughtered and destroyed in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Meanwhile, salmonella cases continue to be a concern EU-wide. 

The largest portion of the allocated budget, 34% – nearly €50m – will be invested in projects fighting bovine tuberculosis. Britain, which is currently negotiating its exit from the EU bloc will benefit from the largest payment for this task, at €20m, sharing the rest of the budget with another four countries – Spain (€13.3m), Ireland (€9.7m), Italy (€3.5m) and Portugal (€1.4m).

The UK is a significant beneficiary in general, receiving 14.8% (almost €21m) of money to fight not only bovine tuberculosis, but also prion diseases, avian influenza in poultry and wild birds and salmonella. Spain tops this list by receiving 16.8%, €23m from the Commission. This year, Madrid has been tasked by the Commission with stabilising seven out of the 11 diseases for which it has been allocated EU funds.

Meanwhile, more than 18% (or nearly €26m) will be spent on overcoming diseases across the EU. The fight against salmonella remains a priority for 24 out of 28 EU countries, said a Commission note, and anti-disease programmes targeting this threat will cost the EU bloc more than €20m.

Denmark and Malta will be the only countries that will not have to deal with the prion disease transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

Out of the 28 EU countries, Lithuania currently appears to have the lowest exposure to livestock disease. In 2018, the Baltic state will receive only €18,000 in EU money for two diseases – TSE (€12,000) and avian influenza (€6,000).

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