Friday

22nd Jan 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“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.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up

The EU is coaxing US president Joe Biden to open up to Cuba amid its worst economic crisis in decades, but foreign money risks feeding the regime's "feared" rule.

Opinion

A digital euro - could it happen?

"Banknotes are still to stay," European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said at a recent conference, "but I think we will have a digital euro."

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us