European farmers and co-ops have warned of “a seriously worrying situation” in the milk and pigmeat sectors.
Their umbrella body, Copa Cogeca, told EU farm ministers in Brussels earlier this week that the situation is aggravated by the import restrictions imposed by the Russian Federation on EU farm exports.
Russia imposed a ban on certain food imports from the US, the EU and other countries last August in retaliation for Western sanctions on the Federation over the Ukraine crisis. Last month, President Vladimir Putin announced an extension of Russia’s ban for a further year to August 2016.
Copa Cogeca said hopes for a re-opening in the near future of the Russian export market, the EU’s number one destination for pigmeat, have been destroyed by the prolongation of the ban. General Secretary Pekka Pesonen urged the Commission to intensify talks with Russia to secure a lifting of restrictions imposed on EU pig meat exports early in 2014.
“This would enable exports to Russia to resume for some products like edible offal and bacon, which were not included in the global list of banned products resulting from the political dispute between the EU and Russia,” he said.
Mr Pesonen, noting the difficulties in the EU dairy sector, with producer prices below production costs in many countries, warned the farm ministers that the situation is likely to worsen. He called on the Commission to advance direct payments before December 1 and to ensure that the 2014/2015 superlevy is returned to the dairy sector to help farmers with cash-flow problems.
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