The European Commission says it will increase its €60m Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget by a further €30m to ease market difficulties expected as a result of Russian measures against some European agricultural products.
The funds will go to CAP promotion projects submitted to member states by the end of this month and starting in 2015. These schemes will then be forwarded to the commission for consideration, whereby those products that might otherwise have been exported to Russia will be prioritised.
Commenting on the decision, agriculture and rural development commissioner Dacian Cioloș said such programmes could be one “medium term” tool to address the market difficulties expected in several sectors as a result of the Russian ban, “helping producers to find new sales outlets within and outside the EU”.
“As this is co-funded by the promotion organisations themselves, this means that schemes worth at least €120 million could start running in 2015. I strongly encourage agricultural organisations to make the most of this opportunity and to present ambitious promotion schemes in the coming weeks."
The move came a week after the commission announced emergency Private Storage Aid (PSA) for butter, skimmed milk powder and certain cheeses for the same geopolitical reasons, a plan due for adoption this week. Similar measures have already been adopted for the peach and nectarine market and other perishable fruit and vegetables, which will receive €33m and €125m in support, respectively.
Last month FoodNavigator analysis of UN data estimated that Russian sanctions against EU exports could cost Europe's food industry more that €5bn. Experts commented that sanctions directed at the EU and US were retaliation for gun, oil exploration and banking sanctions against Russian, which aimed to deter Russian actions in Ukraine.
As part of this trade-sanction crossfire, last month the Russian food safety authority Rosselkhoznadzor said it had detected high levels of antibiotics and bacteria in US poultry, contaminants in dairy products from Ukraine and pests in produce coming from Europe, leading the state to prohibit such exports.