Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said his department had been working through the Commission’s management committee to ensure that the tools available under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were utilised to stabilise markets affected by the Russian ban.
“Over the last few weeks, my department has been working with the Commission and other member states to monitor market developments, and calling for the utilisation of the appropriate market support instruments to alleviate the impact of the Russian ban,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he was pleased that the commissioner had responded to requests from member states in a positive way.
The exceptional measures agreed during Ireland’s presidency of the European Union provide for a degree of flexibility in responding to events of this nature, which is not available under more traditional measures.
“We have yet to see the detail of the Commission proposals, of course, and these will be presented to the management committee and evaluated by member states next week.
“However, aid to private storage temporarily removes product from the market at times of downward pressure on prices, and is a tool which can be used in a pro-active way to alleviate market pressures,” he said.
Mr Coveney also welcomed the commissioner’s firm commitment to put specific proposals to member states and his assurance that he will continue to use the new CAP to act pre-emptively where necessary to stabilise the market.
Irish Farmers’ Association Dairy Committee chairman Sean O’Leary said the EU emergency market measures were a positive first step.
But he urged the Commission to continue monitoring dairy markets for further action as necessary, funded from non-CAP sources in light of the political nature of the problem.
“The Russian ban has clearly had a particular short-term effect on market sentiment, buyer behaviour and therefore prices, in the context of imbalanced global markets.
“However, Russian consumers will need supplies during their harsh autumn and winter months in particular, and buyers will start importing product from other parts of the world, which ought to help rebalance markets,” he said.
Mr O’Leary said it was helpful of the EU Commission to open aid to private storage for skimmed milk powder, butter and certain cheeses to help with the short-term impact.
However, it must also help EU exporters identify and pursue alternative export destinations, and streamline and speed up export related administration.