EU announces aid to dairy sector hit by Russian ban
The European Union on Thursday announced more measures to help European farmers hit by a Russian import ban, expanding the aid to dairy products.
"Price signals on the European dairy market show that the Russian ban is starting to hit this sector," Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said in a statement.
In response, the EU's executive arm has agreed to pay for the storage of butter, milk powder and certain cheeses over a period of three to seven months.
The hope is that the move will slow falling prices and give producers time to find other markets.
The EU said it was unable to provide a budget on how much the operation would cost, in part because it was not yet clear what kind of cheeses would be suitable for storage.
"The cost depends on the volume. There is no formal ceiling," said Roger Waite, spokesman for the Agriculture Commission.
The Russian embargo, announced earlier this month, came in retaliation for US and European sanctions over Moscow's alleged role in separatist violence in eastern Ukraine.
Set to last for a year, the Russian ban covers imports of meats, fruits and vegetables, fish, and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.
EU dairy exports to Russia last year were worth 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion), including 1.0 billion euros in cheese.
The measures for the dairy sector come in addition to 33 million euros in help already announced for peaches and nectarines as well as 125 million euros for the perishable fruit and vegetable sector.
© 2014 AFP