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Sanctions: Russia

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1929, tabled on 26 September 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they and the European Union are taking to avoid adverse effects from sanctions against Russia on farms and small businesses in the Baltic states.

Answered on

13 October 2014

The UK has stated that the Russian Government ban on import on food and agriculture products is totally unjustified and has no legitimate grounds.

The European Commission, in consultation with Member States, has responded with emergency measures designed to stabilise EU markets and to alleviate the effects of the Russian import ban on producers and businesses. Initially, schemes were introduced to support the growers of peaches and nectarines, the highly perishable fruit and vegetable sectors and the dairy sector.

The initial support schemes for cheese and fruit and vegetables were withdrawn due to a surge of applications, not all of which related to products directly exported to Russia. The Commission has now implemented a revised scheme for fruit and vegetables, which, unlike its predecessor, is mainly targeted at those Member States (not the UK) with a track record of exports to Russia. In response to calls from some Member States, including the Baltics, the Commission are considering further targeted measures for the dairy sector.

On fisheries, the UK and some Baltic states are exploring the possibility of banking some of their 2014 fisheries quota for the pelagic sector to be used in 2015.

The UK has encouraged the EU Commission to focus more attention on access to alternative markets to help offset the problems for European food producers caused by Russia’s recent restrictions. Small businesses can face disproportionately higher trade barriers than larger companies and we have also asked the Commission to see what could be done to cut the red tape that can prevent EU businesses from selling into alternative markets.