23 Sep 2014
CLOSING APS WITHOUT ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY TO RESPOND TO RUSSIAN BAN SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH FROM EU COMMISSIONBrussels Daily, Dairy
IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary today (Tues) criticised the EU Commission for abruptly closing down the APS scheme for cheese, apparently because it was ‘disproportionally used by producers in cheese from areas traditionally not exporting significant quantities to Russia’.
Speaking at the Ploughing Championships, Sean O’Leary urged Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately press the EU Commission to re-think this decision and bring forward additional support measures to protect European dairy farmers from the consequences of geopolitical decisions they cannot be expected to pay for.
“This hasty decision by the EU Commission displays a total lack of understanding of the generalised impact the Russian ban has had on European dairy commodity prices, regardless of whether the products concerned were previously directly involved in trade to Russia,” he said.
“The EU Commission simply cannot suddenly withdraw one form of support without at the very least, equally promptly, providing alternative measures to address a situation it has clearly recognised requires EU support,” he added.
“Targeted export refunds to help exporters who trade with Russia find alternative markets would certainly help, and revaluing the “safety net” level of intervention prices to match the long term increase in production costs would also help turn around the negative market sentiment and price trend exacerbated by the Russian ban,” he said.
“Outgoing Commissioner Ciolos must realise that this type of fit-and-start decision making is damaging to the sector’s confidence, not least to farmers. Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must insist on a logical and coherent approach by the EU Commission in supporting the sector through a political crisis it should not be expected to take the brunt of,” he concluded.