Monday

17th Jun 2019

Tomatoes in line for EU aid on Russia food ban

  • The commission reimburses firms 100% if food is given to schools and hospitals (Photo: Kup, Kup)

EU producers of cauliflowers, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes are likely to be next in line for European Commission help in response to the Russia food ban.

A commission spokesman, Roger Waite, told EUobserver on Thursday (14 August) that “quite a lot of member states” raised concerns over the five products at a meeting of agricultural sector officials in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He said the EU executive will “early next week” announce a new “market stabilisation measure” to see that excess produce does not cause a steep fall in prices for the worst-affected commodities.

The new intervention comes after the EU last week helped buy unwanted peaches and nectarines worth between €20 million and €30 million.

The EU can tap a €420 million fund to reimburse farmers 50 percent for items which are diverted from food markets to be used as fertiliser or 100 percent if they are given to schools and hospitals.

The commission on Thursday also decided to hold follow-up meetings every week to assess ongoing needs.

The data is to build a picture of the “real impact” of the Russia food embargo ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU agriculture ministers on 5 September which may decide additional measures, such as increasing the €420 million reserve.

Waite noted that while EU food and drink exports to Russia were worth €11.3 billion last year, the list of items banned by Russia covers €5.3 billion of the total.

“This [Russia] is one market that we’ve lost, albeit a very big and important one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find other new markets”, he said.

“We think the actual value of these sanctions will be massively below €5 billion. But where we end up remains to be seen and how much money we [the EU commission] needs to spend remains to be seen”.

The EU’s agriculture commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, added in a statement: “I am prepared to propose EU-wide measures as and when needed. Producers from across the EU can be reassured … market confidence through European solidarity is the overriding objective”.

Russia imposed the ban on 6 August in retaliation for EU sanctions on its banks, oil and defence sectors over the Ukraine crisis.

Russian president Vladimir Putin at speech in Yalta, Crimea - a part of Ukraine which he annexed in March - also on Thursday claimed it will help Russian consumers.

“We will develop our own production and will restrict low quality Western goods”, he noted. “It’s not just retaliation, primarily it is a measure to support domestic manufacturers, as well as opening our markets to producers from countries that want, and are ready to co-operate with Russia”.

For their part, EU foreign ministers will discuss the Ukraine conflict at a meeting in the EU capital on Friday.

The talks come amid concerns that a large Russian convoy of “humanitarian aid” heading from Moscow to east Ukraine will aggravate the situation because Ukraine said it has no permission to enter the country.

Putin’s Yalta speech also contained a mixture of threats and reassurances.

"We must calmly, with dignity and effectively, build up our country, not fence it off from the outside world”, he said.

"Russia, like any other large, powerful sovereign state, has various ways and means of ensuring its national interests, and these include armed forces. But this is not a panacea and we do not intend, like some people, to dash around the world with a razor blade and wave that blade around. But everyone should understand that we also have such things in our arsenal”.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us