The EU should reconsider its sanctions against Moscow due to the Ukraine crisis, as the farming sector is struggling, the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) told EURACTIV.
According to a DBV report for 2014-2015 published on Tuesday (8 December), the average farm’s income fell by 35% compared to the previous year, to €43,300.
That means that an average farmer’s monthly income amounted to €2,500 or €30,000 per year, the association said.
DBV, which represents some 280,000 businesses in Germany, attributed the “drastic worsening” of conventional farming to the Russian embargo and the slowdown in China.
A solution with Russia
Peter Pascher, DBV ‘s Head of Unit, told EURACTIV that the Russian embargo had severely hit the agricultural sector in Germany, “directly and indirectly”.
He added it was time to “rethink” the EU’s sanctions, and to find solutions to the conflict.
“As other member states, we are looking for other markets outside the EU, with a certain success. It is an ongoing process,” he stressed.
In September, the European Commission unlocked €500 million in aid to farmers hit by falling prices and a ban on exports to Russia, as angry protestors took to the streets of Brussels.
Part of the aid package was designated for funding dairy export promotions, in order to open up markets in third countries, with a special focus on Asia, an EU source told EURACTIV.
The EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia’s banking, oil and defense sectors after the July 2014 shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet, blamed on pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine [See background].
Russian intervention in the Syrian crisis, though, has likely changed the priorities of EU member states.
Ambassadors from the the EU28 had been expected at a meeting on Wednesday (10 December) to sign off on a six-month extension of sanctions, which are due to expire at the end of January.
But according to AFP, on Wednesday (9 December), member states postponed talks.
The issue will probably be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, in Brussels, on Monday (14 December).
Meanwhile, the German Farmers’ Association believes the deterioration of conventional farming in the country could also be attributed to slowing demand from China.
“The global economic situation and the worldwide economic growth is not the best, particularly the situation in China. 3% less economic growth in China means one percent less worldwide,” Pascher said.
“And all oil exporting countries are gaining less money due to the fallen price of oil. I’m sure that there are several other reasons for the slowdown of demand in Asian countries,” he added.