The European Parliament urges the Commission to ensure the supply of fertilisers, take action to bring down prices, and increase the EU's strategic autonomy in fertilisers.
In a resolution approved on Thursday, February 16, by show of hands, MEPs call for a long-term EU fertiliser strategy and a long-term EU soil nutrient strategy by June 2023.
They note that Russian gas, used in the production of fertilisers, contributes to financing the war in Ukraine and call, therefore, "for sufficient resources to be allocated as soon as possible to end dependence on this gas".
MEPs also acknowledge that being self-sufficient in mineral fertilisers "is not realistic" in the medium term and that raw materials used to produce fertilizers often come from autocratic regimes. The EU should "not replace one dependency with another" and must increase its strategic autonomy in fertilizers.
As a short-term measure to increase the availability of fertilizers for farmers and stabilise prices, MEPs propose using part of the agricultural 2023 budget to provide immediate assistance to farmers and to extend the temporary suspension of import duties to all mineral fertilizers apart from those coming from Russia and Belarus. They also call on the Commission to look into a joint purchase mechanism for fertilizers at the EU level and how bottlenecks in the market for fertilizers can be reduced. In the long term, MEPs recommend accelerating the decarbonising process and using fossil-free and recycled nutrients to produce fertilizers.
The rapporteur and Chair of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Mr Norbert Lins (EPP, DE), said: "We urgently need to secure an adequate supply of fertilizers for our farmers, and we need more action to bring down their prices. Fertilizers are essential for food security. Replacing and complementing mineral fertilizers organic nutrients would widen farmers' toolboxes significantly and make European agriculture less dependent on fertilizer imports from third countries."
Following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 2022, the prices of fertilizers and energy increased sharply, having an impact on the cost of food. Prices for nitrogen fertilizers increased by 149% in September 2022, with the largest fertilizer manufacturers registering record profits