Most CEMA companies back to business, but not as usual


On 15 April, EU Executive’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, together with Charles Michel, President of the EU’s Council, unveiled a set of recommendations to start an exit strategy coordinating coronavirus measures put in place across Europe.

It is important to note that the released document is not legally binding and that Health competencies remain at Member State level. Nonetheless, this document marks the starting point to phase-out the current situation, coordinate different key actions at EU level and make possible the re-start of the economic activity. Details on the recommendations can be found at the end of this article.

Focus on the ag machinery sector

Companies within CEMA are back to work in most European countries, implementing safety measures to preserve workers’ health and a new spread of the coronavirus, while prioritizing the most urgent needs. According to latest information, it also seems Italian companies will be back to business on 4th of May applying the necessary safety measures. Major disruptions in the supply chain remain, and significant time and efforts will still be needed before the industry can get back into a more normal situation for the production, distribution and maintenance of agricultural equipment.

In this period of the year where food production is at full speed and harvesting season has started already for a large variety of fruits and vegetables, the need to keep ag machinery up & running remains crucial. On this, CEMA closely monitors the progressive lifting of containment measures at EU level and coordinates information-sharing among its members.

Another take will be to assess the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic on our sector. It is too early to draw conclusions but as a every sector in Europe damages are and will be experienced. To have a monthly view on the business mood, please check the CEMA Business Barometer here


European roadmap sets-up key principles that Member States should take into account:

o   Epidemiological criteria showing that the spread of the disease has significantly decreased and stabilised for a sustained period.

o   Sufficient health system capacity, for example taking into account the occupation rate for intensive care units, the availability of health care workers and medical material.

o   Appropriate monitoring capacity, including large-scale testing capacity to quickly detect and isolate infected individuals, as well as tracking and tracing capacity.

o   Science with public health at its centre, while acknowledging that ending restrictive measures involves balancing public health benefits with social and economic impacts.

o   Coordination between Member States, to avoid negative effects. This is a matter of common European interest.

o   Respect and solidarity. This is essential for both health and socio-economic aspects. At a minimum, Member States should notify each other and the Commission in due time before they lift measures and take into account their views.

Phasing-out confinement requires accompanying measures, including:

o   Gathering harmonised data and developing a robust system of reporting and contact tracing, including with digital tools that fully respect data privacy;

o   Expanding testing capacity and harmonising testing methodologies. The Commission – in consultation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – adopted specific Guidelines  on different coronavirus tests and their performance;

o   Increasing the capacity and resilience of national health care systems, in particular to address the predicted rise in infections after lifting restrictive measures;

o   Continuing to reinforce medical and personal protective equipment capacities.

o   Developing safe and effective treatments and medicines, as well as developing and fast-tracking the introduction of a vaccine to put an end to the coronavirus.


The Commission's roadmap lists concrete recommendations Member States should consider when planning to lift containment measures:

  • Action should be gradual: measures should be lifted in different steps, with sufficient time left between them to measure the impact.
  • General measures should progressively be replaced by targeted ones. For example, protecting the most vulnerable groups for longer; facilitating the gradual return of necessary economic activities; intensifying regular cleaning and disinfection of transport hubs, shops and workplaces; replacing general states of emergencies with targeted government interventions to ensure transparency and democratic accountability.
  • Internal border controls should be lifted in a coordinated manner. Travel restrictions and border controls should be removed once the border regions' epidemiological situation converges sufficiently. External border should be reopened in a second stage and take account of the spread of the virus outside the EU.
  • The re-start of economic activity should be phased-in: there are several models that can be implemented, e.g. jobs suitable for teleworking, economic importance, shifts of workers, etc. The entire population should not return to the workplace at the same time.
  • Gatherings of people should be progressively permitted