Copa-Cogeca attacks EU Commission plans to slash agriculture spending when farmers and agri-cooperatives hit by unprecedented Russian crisis

Copa-Cogeca has sent a letter to MEPs urging them not to approve EU Commission plans to slash agriculture spending in the 2015 EU budget and re-allocate it. This is totally unacceptable when farmers and agri-cooperatives are faced with an unprecedented crisis caused by the Russian ban on farm exports worth 11 billion euros, Copa-Cogeca warned.

Speaking in Brussels, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “Prices have plummeted by over 50% for some agriculture products as a result of the Russian ban. Now is not the time to start cutting agriculture expenditure in 2015 and re-directing it for other purposes. Farmers must not pay twice for this embargo which was not their fault in the first place. We cannot accept another blow to the agriculture sector. Farmers feel like they have been left out in the cold”

“Measures taken so far by the EU Commission to help alleviate pressure on producers hit by the embargo were a good step forward but further targeted action is crucial to prevent producers from going out of business. It is totally irresponsible that the Commission should consider reducing funds now when farmers and agri-cooperative need all the help they can get. Normally 29% of EU fruit and vegetable exports are normally sent to Russia, 24% of pigmeat exports and 33% of cheese exports. Yet farmers and agri-cooperatives have received only a fraction of the total value of the exports as compensation. With food demand set to rise by 60% by 2050 , we cannot afford to cut spending and jeopardise food production”, he said.

Copa-Cogeca urges MEPs and Ministers to act responsibly and not accept another blow to the agriculture sector. Additional funds and targeted measures are vital to ensure a viable sector for the future.

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