Copa-Cogeca welcomes EU Farm Ministers and EU Commission calls to be united faced with Russian ban on farm exports

Copa-Cogeca welcomed today EU Farm Ministers and the EU Commission calls to be united faced with the Russian crisis, stressing action taken so far to alleviate the severe impact of the export ban is a step forward but sectors worst hit by the ban are still in a critical situation.

Russia is failing to comply with world trade (WTO) rules. The move came as Ministers debated the impact at their meeting in Brussels today.

Speaking on behalf of Copa-Cogeca in a meeting with the Latvian Presidency Cogeca President Christian Pees warned “Prices have still not recovered since Russia hit our biggest export market and imposed a unilateral ban on EU farm exports. Prices paid to producers for pigmeat, milk, fruit and vegetables, beef do not even cover production costs. Support is also needed in all sectors to find new market outlets for this produce and for export promotion. It is important to remove sanitary barriers and other unnecessary obstacles to trade”, he said

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned “EU pigmeat and dairy producers are suffering badly. We nevertheless welcome the Commission announcement today to keep private storage open for butter and skimmed milk powder beyond February. In the fruit and vegetable sector, the new action plan must be adapted to market realities in the different member states”.

Outlining key measures in a letter sent to Director-General Mr Plewa, we urged the Commission to introduce a 5000 tonne quota per Member state to use accordingly and transfer quantities not previously used to the new scheme. Higher quantities for citrus fruit and apples are also needed in some countries like Spain and Italy.

Copa-Cogeca meanwhile welcomed the Latvian Presidency priorities to make the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) simpler for producers and cooperatives to apply, especially the complicated greening rules, and to make headway on EU organic production and labelling plans. Commissioner Hogan also insisted that work on evaluation of the EU school milk and fruit and vegetable schemes is underway and should be completed in the coming weeks which we welcome. These schemes are vital to instill good eating habits in children from a young age.

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