EU - Copa and Cogeca has warned EU Farm Ministers in Brussels of the worrying situation in the EU dairy and pig meat sectors, aggravated by the import restrictions imposed by the Russian Federation on EU farm exports, and called for action.
The move came as the issue was discussed by Ministers. In a high level meeting with the Luxembourg Presidency, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: “We support the Austrian Farm Ministers concerns vis a vis the difficult EU pig meat market situation. In Austria, for example, prices for some categories of pork continue to be seven per cent down on 2013 levels whilst in Belgium they are down by as much as 12 per cent compared to 2014.
"Hopes for a re-opening of the Russian export market, which is our number one export destination for pig meat, in the near future have been destroyed by the prolongation of the Russian export ban to 2016. We consequently urge the EU to intensify negotiations with Russia to get the SPS restrictions imposed on EU pig meat exports in early 2014 lifted. This would enable exports to to Russian to resume for some products like edible offal and bacon which were not included in the global list of banned products resulting from the political dispute between the EU and Russia.”
Mr Pesonen went on to underline the difficulties in the EU dairy sector, with producer prices below production costs in many countries and warned that the situation is expected to deteriorate further.
“Copa and Cogeca consequently call on the Commission to advance the direct payments before the 1 December and to ensure that the 2014/2015 superlevy is returned to the dairy sector to help dairy farmers with their cash flow problems. The EU milk intervention price also needs to be raised to take account of higher production costs. #dairyaction
"Copa and Cogeca also calls for support measures for EU fruit and vegetable growers to be extended to offset the impact of the Russian ban on EU exports, after President Putin confirmed that the ban will continue until 2016.
”The trade embargo from Russia has eliminated approximately half, €5.5 billion, of our agri-food exports, making the EU farming community pay heavily for the international dispute between the EU and the Federal Republic of Russia. We must take action,” he insisted.
He also underlined the importance of the EU School fruit and milk schemes, saying they are vital to instill good eating habits in children from a young age.
”We believe that the schemes have worked well and therefore prefer to keep the two schemes separate, rather than merging them as proposed by the EU Commission,” he added.
Mr Pesonen went on to oppose EU Commission plans which attempt to renationalize EU market authorisations of genetically modified crops for feed and food use and urged Ministers to reject them.
Wrapping up, Mr Pesonen shared the Dutch Ministers fears about the recent decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) and expressed his serious concern about the increasing number of patents granted to plants.
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