ICOS calls on EU to help farmers and processors affected by Russian trade ban 

EU farmers and food processors should not now be expected to bear the brunt of the cost of the Russian ban on food imports, according to Bertie O’Leary, President of ICOS, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.

He said that given the political stance taken by the EU in pushing for a trade deal with Ukraine and in their subsequent backing of sanctions against Russia, it should not be farmers who pay for this.

He was commenting on the current impact of the ban on food markets and specifically its impact on global dairy markets.

ICOS, he said, has been lobbying the European Commission to look at all possible tools available to underpin the EU dairy market.

He welcomed the fact that dairy is now finally going to be focused on at a meeting in Brussels this Thursday. He repeated earlier ICOS calls for the Commission to immediately commit to the following actions:

 1.      The opening of maximum Private Storage Aid options, as provided for in the new Single Common Market Organisation, to add stability to the market.

2.      The increasing of all avenues of support to help EU dairy companies to gain access to alternative markets around the world.

3.      The introduction of fat correction factors on delivered milk. ICOS has continually advocated for this, ensuring that superlevy costs are minimised.

4.      That the EU does not use the ‘Crisis Reserve’ as this is EU agriculture’s own money in direct payments and will be taken off farmers. The EU must support the consequences of their own political decisions from elsewhere in the budget.

5.      Current superlevy fines taken by the Commission for the 2013/14 quota year should be immediately ring fenced and used specifically to help the current dairy situation.

6.      A careful economic analysis is required as to the merits of re-introducing export refunds, to see can they help alleviate the current situation, and assist in the orderly disposal of mounting EU cheese stocks from the marketplace.

7.      Ensure that there are no delays in the issuing of export certificates for dairy product.