Sunday

27th May 2018

EU prepares compensation for farmers hit by Russia sanctions

  • An EU compensation plan for farmers hit by Russia's import ban will be discussed at a meeting with government officials on Thursday (Photo: Andrew Stawarz)

EU officials will this week draw up a plan to compensate farmers if they are hit by Russia’s ban on food exports.

Agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos cut short his summer holiday to set up an expert panel last Friday (8 August) tasked with looking at the potential impact of the export ban ahead of a meeting with representatives of EU governments on Thursday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“We are looking at precisely what is involved but also the potential impact looking at all products,” commission spokesman Roger Waite told reporters on Monday.

“By Thursday ... we will be in a position to have a clearer picture”, he added.

Moscow imposed the year-long ban on EU produce last week in the latest round of its tit-for-tat sanctions battle over Ukraine.

The import ban also applies to the US, Canada, Australia and Norway, although Iceland was exempted.

For its part, the EU recently imposed its toughest sanctions yet on Vladimir Putin’s government, including restrictions on food imports and financial assets, after it continued to support Ukrainian rebel groups believed to have been responsible for shooting down Malaysian flight MH17 last month.

Figures from the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat suggest that the move will cost Europe more than €12 billion in lost exports, which represents around 10 percent of total EU agricultural sales outside the bloc.

But it will also hit Russian consumers, since EU produce accounts for over 40 percent of Russia’s food imports.

The bloc’s common agricultural policy gives the commission a €420 million cash reserve that could be used to compensate farmers, but officials are refusing to jump the gun on whether the fund will need to be tapped.

“We still feel we are a little bit too soon to be discussing exact amounts,” said Waite, adding that “we can support farmers if there are problems but we have to assess what the impact is”.

“European exporters have lost one market but we can’t say that we won’t be able to export to other markets [to replace Russia]”.

The Commission also announced emergency measures to prop up Europe's peach and nectarine growers, which it said had been hard hit by unfavourable weather conditions, and would face additional pressure resulting from the import ban.

Ministers from Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland have already stated their intention to request compensation for their farmers from the EU executive.

Russia imposes retaliatory sanctions on EU

Moscow is slapping a ban on EU-imported fruit and vegetables and food from the US in retaliation for western economic sanctions. Meanwhile, 20,000 Russian soldiers are stationed on the Ukraine border.

Visual Data

EU budget: Biggest cuts and increases

The European Parliament accused the EU Commission of not providing clear figures for a comparison of the proposed and the current EU budgets. We take a look at the main differences.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach