The European Commission said that it has adopted a series of measures against market disturbance following the Russian embargo on agricultural imports from EU member states. Dacian Ciolas, current Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, was answering a question on the subject in the European Parliament poised by Maltese Europarliamentarian Alfred Sant.
Alfred Sant asked whether the EC was contemplating countermeasures of support for European businesses hit by the Russian embargo on food imports from the EU. Sant asked if the Commission could ensure that when such countermeasures are being considered in the dairy, pig meat, beef and poultry sectors, appropriate support will also be considered and extended to producer and processor small and medium businesses in islands and peripheral regions of the Union.
The Maltese MEP also asked whether the Commission could consider the fact that these SMEs are already in a precarious financial position due to problems of insularity and/or diseconomies of scale, and will be adversely (quite likely fatally under the prevailing economic conditions) affected by intra‐Community surges of food imports towards their local markets from other EU destinations in the aforementioned sectors, at price levels which they have no hope of meeting.
The Commission said that for the milk sector, it has adopted a package of four measures: opening private storage aid for butter and skimmed milk powder; extending the intervention period for butter and skimmed powder, and opening a private storage aid scheme for certain cheeses. The cheese private storage aid measure had to be stopped on 23 September for disproportionate use by cheese producers from areas not traditionally exporting significant quantities of cheese to Russia. The other dairy market stabilisation measures remain in place until the end of the year.
The Commission said these measures are available to all operators, including small and medium enterprises in all EU Member States including their islands and peripheral regions. The EC said specific measures for SMEs in island and peripheral regions are not foreseen.
In the meat sector, the Commission has not intervened as the market impact is less severe so far. However, the Commission is closely monitoring market developments for all products concerned and is ready to put in place additional appropriate measures if necessary to stabilise these markets.

Subject: Russian food imports embargo and support for SMEs in island and peripheral regions

Having regard to the Russian embargo on food imports from the EU and to the preparation and implementation by the Commission of countermeasures of support for European businesses hit by this embargo,
— could the Commission ensure that when such countermeasures are being considered in the dairy, pigmeat, beef and poultry sectors, appropriate support will also be considered and extended to producer and processor SMEs in islands and peripheral regions of the Union?
— could the Commission consider the fact that these SMEs are already in a precarious financial position due to problems of insularity and/or diseconomies of scale, and will be adversely (quite likely fatally under the prevailing economic conditions) affected by intra‐Community surges of food imports towards their local markets from other EU destinations in the aforementioned sectors, at price levels which they have no hope of meeting?

Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission – 15th October

Following the Russian import ban for certain EU agricultural products the Commission has adopted a series of measures, on the basis of the legal framework of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013(1), more specifically on Article 219 on measures against market disturbance.
For the milk sector, the Commission has adopted a package of four measures: Implementing Regulations (EU) No 947/2014(2) and No 948/2014(3) opening private storage aid (PSA) for butter and skimmed milk powder, Delegated Regulation (EU) No 949/2014(4) extending the intervention period for butter and skimmed powder, and Delegated Regulation No 950/2014(5) opening a private storage aid scheme for certain cheeses. The cheese PSA measure had to be stopped on 23 September for disproportionate use by cheese producers from areas not traditionally exporting significant quantities of cheese to Russia. The other dairy market stabilisation measures remain in place until the end of the year.
These measures are available to all operators, including SMEs, in all EU Member States including their islands and peripheral regions; specific measures for SMEs in island and peripheral regions are not foreseen.
In the meat sector, the Commission has not intervened as the market impact is less severe so far. However, the Commission is closely monitoring market developments for all products concerned and is ready to put in place additional appropriate measures if necessary to stabilise these markets.
In parallel, market monitoring is enhanced and all measures available under the CAP are examined.