Tuesday

26th May 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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”.

Coronavirus

ECB promises (almost) whatever it takes

The eurozone's central bank has promised to buy up to €750bn of government and private bonds in new pandemic counter-measures.

Opinion

What does coronavirus 'Black Swan' mean for markets?

Falling demand and prices for oil and raw materials will revive the risk of deflation. The collapse in international trade and long-term rethinking of China's role as the major hub for the production of consumer goods and electronics is inevitable.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Latest News

  1. Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK
  2. EU and UK stumbling into Irish border crisis
  3. Malta patrol boat 'intimidates' capsized migrants
  4. How coronavirus might hit EU defence spending
  5. Herman Van Rompuy on power and influence in the EU
  6. EU links access to recovery fund to economic advice
  7. EU wants to halve use of pesticides by 2030
  8. Top editors alarmed by media cuts in EU and beyond

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us