Bulgaria, Romania fail to win EU backing for more compensation for dairy farmers hit by Russian embargo

Bulgaria, Romania fail to win EU backing for more compensation for dairy farmers hit by Russian embargo

Sofia, January 27, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Stroe of the Sofia Globe

Bulgaria and Romania have failed to win further compensation for dairy farmers negatively affected by a Russian ban on imports of dairy products from the European Union, Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Dessislava Taneva said after a January 26 meeting of the EU’s agriculture and fisheries council.

The council decided that there was no crisis in the industry and no need for emergency measures.

Taneva said that in November 2104, the price of milk in Bulgaria had fallen by 14 per cent following an earlier decline, and she would raise the issue again at the next meeting of the EU agriculture and fisheries council.

The decision that there was no crisis in the industry was based on an analysis of prices of milk and milk products in all EU countries, specially prepared for the council meeting.

The council agreed to continue the monitoring until March.

Taneva said that six countries had backed the call for five measures to support the industry.

The decision for Bulgaria to insist on measures being taken at European level to provide support to all producers of milk and dairy products in the European Union hit by the Russian ban on imports of these products from the EU was taken at a Bulgarian cabinet meeting on January 21.

Farmers in Bulgaria were suffering losses because of Russia’s ban on imports, with milk and dairy products and the fruit and vegetable sectors the hardest-hit, a government statement said at the time.

The contraction of the market was affecting the purchase price of milk. For Bulgaria, it was especially important for action to be taken at EU level to provide support to all producers in the bloc, the statement said.

Bulgaria wanted the European Commission to prepare a further analysis of the current situation, as a basis for deciding on further stabilisation measures.

Bulgaria called for the introduction of export refunds for cheeses, including Bulgarian feta cheese. The country also supported enabling EU member states to apply temporary state aid for milk producers to avoid mass bankruptcies and loss of livelihood in the region.

The country also favoured an extension of the mechanism approved by the European Commission in 2014 to assist fruit and vegetable producers, the statement said.