Slovakia grumbles as EU begins crisis Russia food ban talks

  
Robert Fico (right) Photo Slovak government
Robert Fico (right) Photo Slovak government

The Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, criticised EU sanctions against Russia as a ‘meaningless’ gesture that would hit growth prospects, as officials from the bloc’s 28 states began emergency talks on Russia's ban on Western food imports today (14 August) .

"Why should we jeopardize the EU economy that begins to grow?" Fico told a news conference. "If there is a crisis situation, it should be solved by other means than meaningless sanctions.”

“Who profits from [the] EU economy decreasing, Russia's economy having troubles and Ukraine economically on its knees?" he asked.

Fico also said that Slovakia had to be prepared this winter for a potential disruption to the third of EU gas imports that arrive from Russia, 40% of which transit via Ukraine.

Last week, Russia announced a one-year embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

Analysts say Russia could be inflicting the sharpest pain on itself as it will drive up food prices for its consumers and stoke inflation, but EU farmers are concerned the gluts of fresh fruit and other produce they face will severely undermine the prices they can charge.

Speaking after the EU agricultural experts' meeting, the bloc's agriculture commissioner, Dacian Cioloș, pledged to propose EU-wide measures that would reassure markets and producers alike.

"Early next week, I will come forward with the next market stabilisation measure, targeting  a number of perishable fruit and vegetable products which are now clearly in difficulty," he said. "This action will be proportionate and cost effective."

Cioloș also announced that a market monitoring mechanism had been put in place to access sectoral market data more quickly and effectively. Member states' representatives would meet weekly to discuss the subject until the crisis was resolved, he addded.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has already announced support for peach and nectarine growers which had already been suffering a price collapse that has since been exacerbated by the Russian ban.

In all, EU farm exports to Russia are worth around €11 billion a year, roughly 10% of all EU agricultural sales.

Some nations are more affected than others. Poland is suffering from the loss of its biggest apple buyer, and France, the bloc's leading agricultural economy, is nervous that their own produce will be driven down by the hundreds of thousands of Polish apples Russia does not import.

After a 2013 Common Agricultural Policy reform, the EU has an emergency €420 million fund available to compensate producers for sudden market distortions.

Commission officials say decisions could be made very swiftly on whether the fund can be used, but they first need adequate data from member states to show who needs it most.

"We are looking to monitor likely patterns on each individual market," Commission spokesman Roger Waite said.

Supply and demand

The Commission could seek to reduce supply, as it has in the case of peach and nectarine growers. Support for that sector, announced on Monday, consists of increasing the amount of fruit that can be withdrawn from the market to 10% from 5%.

The producers will be compensated by some €20-30 million, according to industry sources for the withdrawn fruit, which is given away to institutions such as hospitals, schools and prisons.

Other options are to improve marketing strategies domestically and in new markets.

Anonymously, EU officials say that talks could be held to dissuade alternative suppliers from selling Russia the food it no longer receives from Europe or other Western nations.

"We understand that individual exporters may decide to use opportunities," one official said.

"But to have countries actively supporting and encouraging replacing European or American exports, or Australian, which have been banned by the Russian Federation, it seems to us from the political point of view to be something which is hard to justify."

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Comments

Jay's picture

The big three: Italy in recession, France stagnating, and Germany coming to a grinding halt with doom and gloom forecast on the horizon. Russian sanctions will include this year and next - is there a tax increase coming in EU's future budget?

Sanctions against Russia are not going to work and the sooner the two faced EU wakes up the better for all. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, and keep negotiating until a fair and reasonable solution is achieved for all parties.

One last item, forget Washington, they always make things worse!!!

Eurochild's picture

But, Jay, Russia refuses to allow Ukraine to decide its own future - however many negotiations there are. Russia continues to send in its own troops and arm the separatists, however many negotiations there may be. Russia will not negotiate over Crimea, which it has illegally annexed. Of course maintaining channels of communications open is important, but Russia under Putin doesn't believe in negotiating. Besides, what does Putin have to negotiate for? He wants Ukraine in his Eurasian Union, but the Ukrainian people do not want to be under his thumb. If there were negotiations, then he would have to accept the wishes of the Ukrainian people for their own future - and he wants the whole of Ukraine, he doesn't care about a little strip in the east. Are you suggesting that the Ukrainian people should negotiate with Mr Putin as to how much control he has over their country?

So, since Putin knows that what he desires - to control Ukraine - is impossible to get, he wants to cause as many problems as possible for the Ukrainian people and keep creating other issues to distract from the real issue - the future of Ukraine.

The two-faced ones are the anti-Americans who drool all over Putin's imperialism.

When Robert Fico says something, you know it's not based on any kind of political value. The man has never had any credibility.

Jay's picture

To Eurochild,

But, Jay, Russia refuses to allow Ukraine to decide its own future - however many negotiations there are.

1) Did all Ukrainians support the coup that overthrew former President Yanukovych?

Russia continues to send in its own troops and arm the separatists, however many negotiations there may be.

2) Are the western Ukrainians the only people allowed to decide their own self determination?

Russia will not negotiate over Crimea, which it has illegally annexed.

3) Crimea was lost the day Ukraine violated it's own constitution by allowing a foreign military presence to occupy it's territory.

Whenever I hear the term: "Automonous Republic of ...." I immeaditely conclude the territory actually belongs to some other country and was aquired by another country under suspious circumstances. But that's just me.

Of course maintaining channels of communications open is important, but Russia under Putin doesn't believe in negotiating.

4) That is not so, right now today, Putin has been calling for negotiations on behalf of the separatists and on energy supplies to Europe and Ukraine.

Besides, what does Putin have to negotiate for?

5) I don't understand this question unless it relates to energy.

He wants Ukraine in his Eurasian Union, but the Ukrainian people do not want to be under his thumb.

6) EU/US also wants Ukraine under it's thumb and you can't speak for all Ukrainians.

If there were negotiations, then he would have to accept the wishes of the Ukrainian people for their own future -

7) And the Donetsk People's Republic? Crimean's? see 1 & 2

and he wants the whole of Ukraine, he doesn't care about a little strip in the east.

8) Personally, I think he has the part he wanted back (Crimea) and he really dosn't want anymore of Ukraine (South Stream for instance) but he does want friendly trade.

Are you suggesting that the Ukrainian people should negotiate with Mr Putin as to how much control he has over their country?

9) You have negotiated with the EU on control of your country when you signed the EU agreement. How is that different from negotiations with Putin?

So, since Putin knows that what he desires - to control Ukraine - is impossible to get, he wants to cause as many problems as possible for the Ukrainian people and keep creating other issues to distract from the real issue - the future of Ukraine.

10) Diplomats, NGO's, CIA for instance have their own countries interests at heart working behind closed doors for certain advantages.

The two-faced ones are the anti-Americans who drool all over Putin's imperialism.

11) Reminds me of the old Vietnam era bumper stickers - 'America, Love It Or Leave It', with the great response - 'America, Love It and Change It'. It's because I love my country that I am appalled by what I see. We are no longer the 'Shining Beacon on the Hill', but are sliding downhill because of a succession of administrations (from both parties) that are beholden to special interests and a power elite, the US Constitution be damned.

When Robert Fico says something, you know it's not based on any kind of political value. The man has never had any credibility.

12) I'll have to pass on dear ole Robert, I know almost nothing about him. He's not really a world stage shaker is he?

I do tend to be cynical, but that's only after years of having my government feed me BS, something I was taught in school and by the CBS Evening News that only the Russkis and Red Chinese would do. Actually, I was quite gung ho when Vietnam heated up. I believed everything I was told, but when the Gulf of Tonkin false flag was revealed years after the war wound down, you can believe I was pissed - the government staging a false attack on US Navy destroyers, which, after LBJ's nationwide TV speech, was the spark that began our involvement. And years later, when we invaded Iraq because of non existent WMDs, it seemed to me that a pattern of lies and deception were standard operating procedure as far as our government was concerned. So I look at events now, and our government's and media's spin on them, with a more critical, if not cynical eye. How can we continue to say that we are exceptional when we have become the greatest threat to world peace. Why America is NOT the greatest country in the world:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs

Jay's picture

Today I must be moving on, (please wait and hold your applause for just a minute) summer is nearly over and the harvest beckons. Best of all, Washington finally came through and affirmed my right to breath oxygen.

I leave you with this: There are at least two sides to every story, don't resign yourselves to having just one side.

Have a great day, every day!

kushal kumar's picture

CONCLUSION :- " Downward trend in world economy is likely to be in mild form during
November, 2014 to April, 2015, to grow somewhat intense during May, 2015
to October, 2015, becomes harsh during November, 2015 to July, 2016.
Such areas of life as minerals and metals, foodcrops, energy resources , defence and security of nations are likely to bear the brunt of these trends.
Collective wisdom in decision making, communication systems, aviation industry, and the cinema , music and TV industries are also , in addition, likely to be touched by these trends.
Countries or regions whose names begin with the letters B , E , EU, N, O, P, U or V may need to implement multilevel approach to challenges during this period".

This is the substance or salient feature of my article - " Stressful times ahead for world economy in 2015 and 2016"- published online on June 2, this year at Astrologyweekly. com

Jay's picture

Did you conjure this phenomenal piece of wisdom up at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry or did it come to you on the dust particles kicked up by a herd passing Unicorns?

Fos_Tonkin's picture

In my opinion everyone should be free to decide his own future - if Western Ukraine wants to join the EU - let them free to do so. If Eastern Ukraine wants to join Russia - the same should apply for them as well.

Jay's picture

Queen Merkel and court jester Steinmeier are of the opinion that they alone decide whom is entitled to self determination. The two often forget that strong democracies are built on rules, not the ideologies of the individuals in office.

If you are wondering why negotiations aren't going anywhere look no further than the demands spewing out of Kiev and the west. Demand, demand, demands, one cannot negotiate when the other side behaves like a spoilt child throwing a temper tantrum. Germany and Kiev, with their incessant demands, are hampering the negotiations process.

Now I always go on the premise that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Viewed from this perspective, if the separatists lay down their weapons so should Kiev. If Russia should stop arming and funding the separatists so should the west stop supplying equipment and funding to Kiev. If those conditions were met, negotiations would move along at the speed of a fired bullet.

Ukraine's Yeltsin movement:

Although hardly reported by the western press in late July the Ukrainian parliament passed a law authorizing the speaker of the parliament to dissolve parliamentary factions under certain circumstances. The following day, Ukrainian parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov dissolved the Ukrainian Communist Party faction in parliament, accusing them of supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Robert Person, an assistant professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, United States Military Academy at West Point sums it thus:

"Genuine aspirants for Ukrainian political office have reason to fear these developments. The most important rules in a democracy are those that govern power: how one gains power, how one loses power, how power is divided and constrained, and who is allowed to compete for power. Unexpected and ad-hoc revisions to these rules such as those in the Ukrainian parliament in July only serve to erode the legitimacy of the democratic process as a whole."

"To be sure, the post-Maidan government was already on a questionable democratic footing due to the way in which it came to power."

"Democracy is a system in which incumbents lose elections. Ironically, it is the incumbent that loses an election and voluntarily exits from power that serves as the lynchpin of democracy."

"The alternative — an incumbent who loses an election and then resorts to extraordinary measures to cling to power — is all too often part of the narrative of democratic collapse. Contentious transfers of power that lie outside ordinary electoral procedures (such as the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych) are often not healthy in the long run for democracy, even though they may bring democrats to power."

"This is because strong democracies are built on the rules, not the orientations or ideologies of the individuals in office. While it helps to have political elites who truly "believe" in democratic values, what is more important for the survival of democracy is to have elites who see no other alternative to democratic procedures to gain or lose power."

"Seizing power through means outside the orderly rules-bound democratic process is obviously illegitimate. But we must also appreciate that taking away power from the opposition through similar means, as has been done to Ukraine's Communist Party, is equally illegitimate and corrosive to democracy in the long run."

Russian President Boris Yeltsin dissolved the Supreme Soviet in 1993 without the constitutional authority to do so.