Sean Kelly MEP, the Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, will press EU leaders to introduce a number of measures to protect the agri-food sector from any negative impact in the wake of Russian import restrictions, during the Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg next week.
“Sanctions imposed on EU agriculture producers have the potential to negatively affect incomes in the farm sector in Ireland. The agriculture sector is paying for decisions taken in the foreign affairs policy area. This means that money should be found from outside EU and national agriculture budgets to aid farmers in acknowledgement of this fact,” he said.
There must be rapid, strong and clear mitigating measures put in place to aid farmers at risk. Not just for fairness, but also to send a strong signal to Russian President Putin that he cannot hurt our farmers.”
He said that the Commission has been working on Private Storage Aid for milk, butter and most importantly cheddar cheese, of which Ireland is a producer, to mitigate the Russian ban. Previously, the cheese aid was limited to mainly French and Italian GI cheeses.
“Private storage aid is aid for the warehousing of product, pending the return to normal market conditions. This is the first step in a process that include Intervention – where the Commission buys up product off the market and stores it itself.
Mr Kelly also highlighted the need for the Commission to move quickly to reduce red tape on export licences so that new markets can be sourced for product that would otherwise have been destined for Russia.
The South MEP said such action would send a strong signal: “It is not just a signal to farmers that we stand ready to help, it is also a signal to President Putin that he cannot target our farmers.
“I will be bringing this to the floor of the European Parliament when it sits in Plenary for its September session, next week.”