The European Union will use agricultural funds to help EU producers store butter, Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) and cheese, to help diminish the impact of the Russian ban on EU food imports, the Commission announced on Thursday (28 August).

Earlier this month, Russia banned the import of certain foods and drinks originating from the European Union as a response to Western sanctions over Ukraine’s crisis. The European Commission is using a Common Agricultural Policy measure called Private Storage Aid to help finance the cost of the three to seven months temporary storage of butter, SMP, and several types of cheese.

However, the Commission has not specified the amount it intends to disburse to the dairy industry.

EU Agricultural Commissioner Dacian Cioloș said in a statement that various member countries experienced losses in the dairy market, and the demand for new storage has outlets increased. He also said that the European Commission is ready “to act pre-emptively to stabilise the market.”

Russia is the primarily export destination for the EU's meat and dairy products. In 2013, exports to Russia were worth €2.3 billion.

Despite the EU funding commitment, the European Farmers Union Copa-Cogeca called for more support.

“Milk prices in some cases are going down by as much as 30%,” said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen. “Further action is crucial. We also need to work hard to find new market outlets for our produce and speed up promotion campaigns to stimulate new demand,” he explained.

Apart from the emergency market support measures for the dairy sector, at the beginning of August, the Commission announced roughly €32 million aid for peaches and nectarines, and €125 million for perishable fruits and vegetables.

EU ready to support dairy sector hit by Russia food ban on EurActiv

EU ready to support dairy sector hit by Russia food ban

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Agriculture ministers will meet on 5 September to discuss the consequences of the Russian ban, and measures required to make up for export losses.

Commissioner Cioloș will present an analysis of the short and medium consequences by the Russian trade embargo on the internal market.