EU farm commissioner commits to sustained focus on Russian ban

A renewed commitment to “remain vigilant” in addressing the impact on EU producers of the Russian ban has been issued by European farm commissioner, Phil Hogan.

In his first speech to the European Parliament’s agriculture and rural development committee, Mr Hogan (pictured) said he was well aware that the economic situation is “not looking good” for some of the product areas affected by the Russian ban.

“The Commission reacted quickly earlier in the year by rolling out a series of measures to help affected farmers and producers,” he said.  “We will continue to remain vigilant on this issue, which is of the highest geopolitical and economic importance to European agriculture.”

The Commissioner also took the opportunity, however, to highlight the “more positive” side of the EU’s export picture.

“When we compare September 2014 to September 2013, the value of EU exports of agricultural and food products increased by almost €500 million (£392m),” he said, adding that while this figure had been aided by a weaker Euro, it also confirmed the capacity of the European Union to adapt to the new geopolitical context and find alternative destinations for its product.

He also made a key export point later in his agriculture committee address, when dealing with the issues surrounding the current free trade negotiations with the US.

“Growing world demand continues to be a key driving factor for the growth of European agriculture,” he said. “This trend confirms the importance of our strategy to open markets on the one hand, and guarantee the appropriate protection for high value EU products around the world on the other.

“I will therefore be proactive in promoting the opening of international markets to high quality EU product. However, to repeat the commitment from my appointment hearing, EU standards and sensitive sectors will not be sacrificed on the altar of a trade deal.”

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