The EU beef market situation continues to be difficult, according to European farmers organisation Copa-Cogeca.

Its Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen and Chairman of Copa-Cogecas’ beef working party Jean Pierre Fleury underlined this in a meeting with high level experts from the EU Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Trade.

“The beef sector is very fragile from a structural point of view and incomes are low. This is particularly serious for specialised beef producers as it is their only source of income. The situation has also become much worse after the EU lost its main export market for beef – Russia.

“It is therefore crucial that the EU finds additional new market outlets,” Jean Pierre Fleury said.

“Moreover, meat consumption is stagnating and the beef market situation could be destabilized further by fluctuations in the EU dairy sector and repercussions in terms of surplus supplies on the market for animals destined for slaughter,” he added.

“Additional imports to the EU as a result of any trade agreement currently being negotiated by the EU could also add extra supplies on the market, threatening EU beef production. This could have a serious impact in rural areas where there is no other source of employment,” he warned.

Wrapping up, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen pointed to the bilateral free trade talks between the EU and US, saying we see both opportunities and challenges.

“The US is our number one client for our agriculture exports. However, we will remain vigilant and do our utmost to safeguard the EU beef sector and our particular production methods. Also, before making further headway in the negotiations, it is crucial to address sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade.”