The FruitVegetablesEurope association (Eucofel), which brings together national and regional federations and companies from Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Portugal, has sent a letter to the head of Agriculture of the European Commission (EC), Janusz Wojciechowski, calling for Brussels to resume dialogue with Russia to try to reopen the market for European agricultural food products, as a measure to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the sector.
"Now more than ever the European Union (EU) and Russia must reach an agreement to reopen the Russian market for EU products," they stated.
Moscow's boycott of EU fresh produce - such as fruit, vegetables, meat or fish products - began in 2014 in retaliation for European sanctions against Russia's role in the conflict with Ukraine.
Furthermore, producers demand exceptional and temporary support measures for fruit and vegetable producers. "The measures should be similar to those established to alleviate the negative effect of the Russian veto in 2014," says the organization, which indicates that such aid has been beneficial in guaranteeing adequate price levels, restoring market balance, and correcting disturbances.
They also demand the modification of the regulations that apply to the organizations, in particular of the provisions on the execution of programs, which they believe will "allow improving the approved budgets by making the adjustments more flexible and allowing the inclusion of certain costs."
Lastly, they call for the EU financial aid limit to be increased to 70% of the operating fund amount, and for measures to be taken to ensure that seasonal workers are able to go to jobs considered essential.
Brussels is analyzing requests coming from countries and farmers' organizations and plans to give an answer to all, community spokesman Daniel Rosario stated in a news conference. "Our priority is ensuring food security and an efficient food supply chain," he said.
Last Thursday, the EC presented a series of measures, including the one-month extension, until June 15, of the term to request aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to increase the advance of direct payments (from 50 to 70%), and rural development payments (from 75 to 85%).
Source: EFE / lavanguardia.com