EU farm crisis talks set for Strasbourg tonight

Europe’s farm leaders are stepping up their campaign for a range of measures to end the EU agricultural crisis, including calling for “extended private storage aid (PSA) for pork” and the reopening of the Russian market to EU exports.

The presidents of Copa and Cogeca are due to meet EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, and several prominent MEPs in Strasbourg tonight to press the industry’s case for action.

“There are currently protests all across Europe,” said Copa-Cogeca secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen. “Many producers are going under, having been hit by serious cash flow problems and with market prices which are not even covering input costs.

“Producers have lost their main export market to Russia, worth 5.1 billion (£3.95 bl), due to international politics. Input prices are spiralling out of control, especially fertiliser costs and the collapse in oil prices is hitting commodity prices badly”.

Copa-Cogeca’s list of demands includes:

  • to re-open the Russian market,
  • accelerate trade negotiations with Japan,
  • step up promotion measures, and
  • use export credit insurance.

“With few tools left, we need to strengthen measures used to manage the market, including a temporary rise in the EU dairy intervention price and extended private storage aid (PSA) for pork and dairy products,” said Mr Pesonen.

He also called for unfair practices along the food chain to be tackled so that farmers are not treated unfairly by retailers.

The Copa and Cogeca presidents have also sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) High Representative, Federica Mogherini, urging her to “step up efforts to open dialogue with Russia”.

In addition, the two organisations have given notice that they will continue to increase the pressure on the EC until the next Council of Farm Ministers takes place on March 14.

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