A decision to introduce Aids to Private Storage for butter and skimmed milk powder will, almost certainly, be taken at an Agriculture Management Committee Meeting on Thursday of this week, European Commission sources in Brussels have confirmed to Agriland.

This development reflects the pressure growing on the dairy markets in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland in the wake of the decision by Russia to ban all food imports from the EU.

While Brussels has the option of introducing this aid package on a regional basis, it is believed that the Commission will agree to support measures, which will be made available throughout the EU. Under the envisaged scheme Brussels will pay the three-month storage costs for an agreed quantity of product. After this period of time the butter and skimmed milk powder will be released back on to the commercial market.

A spokesman for Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said: “A proposal to introduce Aids to Private Storage Aids must be put to a vote at Thursday’s meeting. But this will only happen once a thorough discussion on the impact of Russia’s food import ban has taken place.

“Aids to Private Storage represent by far the most effective means of providing support to the dairy market at the present time. But it must be pointed out that no decision has yet been taken to go down this route. Everything hinges on the outcome of the discussions that take place at the Agriculture Management Committee Meeting on Thursday.”

The Agriculture Management Committee comprises officials from each EU member states. Over the past number of weeks technical experts in the fields EU markets, international markets plus technical and legal experts have been working closely with Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş to quantify the full impact of the Russian food ban.