Copa, Cogeca warn of need for action over effects of Russian ban

Copa and Cogeca warned at an event in Helsinki today that the EU farming community is paying a heavy price for the international dispute between the EU and Russia faced with the Russian ban on EU farm exports and called for action.

Speaking at the event organized by the European Economic and Social Committee Pekka Pesonen warned “Before the August 2014 embargo, the Russian agri-food market absorbed EU exports worth up to 16 billion euro annually, including agricultural machinery. Our Russian imports were at the level of 4 billion euro. Russia was indeed our biggest EU-export destination, our number one client. The trade embargo from Russia has eliminated approximately half, 5,5 billion euro, of our agri-food exports. The ban has hit in particular the European dairy, meat and fruit and vegetables market, putting downward pressure on prices and squeezing producers profit margin still further, forcing some out of business. Some countries have been particularly badly hit like Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia”

“The European Commission services have stepped up efforts to find new markets for our EU agricultural products. But unfortunately there has been a lot of talk and less action, at least in finding new opportunities to access markets. Today, we have a good budget for promotional measures but few opportunities to use these funds in an efficient way. We have repeatedly pointed out the need to use our EU External Services to promote not only democracy; human rights and other societal important elements, but also our high quality food and sustainable policies governing our EU agriculture sector. But not enough has been done. Action is vital if we want to ensure we have producers in future to meet growing food demand,” he concluded

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