Copa and Cogeca to hold mass demonstration to call for action on market prices

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Copa and Cogeca are to hold mass demonstration in Brussels in September to call for action to improve the drastic market situation hit by Russian crisis.

Copa and Cogeca have welcomed as a step forward the EU Commission move to introduce new measures to support EU fruit and vegetable growers and dairy producers faced with the Russian crisis, but it is nowhere near enough to compensate producers for their huge losses.

Copa President Albert Jan Maat stressed: “The move is a positive step forward. EU dairy, pigmeat, beef and fruit and vegetable growers are suffering enormously from the export ban imposed by the Federal Republic of Russia. The trade embargo from Russia – which farmers and cooperatives are the victims of - has cut approximately half, 5,5 billion euro, of our agri-food exports. We welcome the EU Commission announcement today to officially introduce measures in the coming weeks to support fruit and vegetable growers and dairy producers in the wake of the Russian crisis. But it is not nearly enough. Demonstrations have been taking place across Europe for months.

“In the pigmeat sector, there is an extremely difficult situation, partly as a result of the Russian export restrictions which were imposed at the end of January 2014. We need a strong export strategy. We 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 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. We also call for targeted measures in the regions worst affected by the ban. If the situation is not improved, Member States must be allowed to negotiate with the Russian authorities their export certificates in order to re-establish trade in pigmeat as soon as possible,” he said.

“In the milk sector, we also want the EU Commission to allow Member States to advance the direct payments before the 1st of December. Around 700 million € will also be taken out of the dairy sector as a result of the 2014/2015 milk superlevy bill at a time when dairy farmers desperately need cash. This should therefore be returned to the sector to help farmers with their cash flow problems. The EU intervention price must also be increased to put a floor in the market. Last set in 2008, it is nowhere near production costs,” Cogeca President Christian Pees said.

The demonstration will take place on 7 September outside the EU Farm Ministers meeting in Brussels.