Copa & Cogeca urge EU Commission to step up efforts to re-open the Russian market

Following this weeks EU farm ministers meeting, Copa & Cogeca have urged the commission to step up efforts to re-open the Russian market to EU agricultural exports, warning that the sector remains in a critical state & action is vital.

Speaking after a meeting with the Dutch Presidency, Copa Vice-President Henri Brichard said “We welcome the fact that many Ministers understand the critical situation hitting EU farmers, especially in the EU livestock sector and fruit and vegetable sectors, which has been fueled by the ban imposed by Russia on EU farm exports. Pork prices are less than they were 11 years ago and milk prices over 40% below last years’ levels. This is unacceptableA priority for the EU must be to re-open this market. Member States also need to ensure that aid from the package agreed last September is paid out as little has reached farmers until now. Some farmers have also still not received the full amount of direct payments under the CAP and have to fill the next form for 2016″ .

He went on to welcome introduction of the “yellow card” system under CAP simplification for first offenders which will make life easier for farmers. In cases where the over-declaration is minor (below 10% of the area determined), the administrative penalty would be cut in half. Farmers who receive a yellow card will be registered and will be subject to an on-the-spot control the following year.

Mr Brichard urged the EU to make sure that animal welfare requirements and objectives under the new Animal Welfare Platform are consistant with the EU’s trade policy and with the free trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur and the USA (TTIP). Imports to the EU must meet the EU’s high welfare standards. The main aim of the platform is for member states and experts to exchange ideas and knowledge and give visibility to initiatives carried out to promote welfare. For copa-cogeca, we believe the focus must be on ensuring proper implementation and harmonisation of existing EU rules rather than creating new legislation.

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