On 7 August 2014, the Russian Federation introduced import restrictions on a range of EU agricultural products, notably meats, dairy products and fruit & vegetables.
For some of these products, Russia had previously been a particularly important market destination, with some European regions being particularly affected by this decision. In 2013, EU exports to Russia of these products had been worth € 5.2 billion (or 4 % of overall EU agri-food exports).
In response to this ban, the European Commission, with the help of Member States, has monitored the different markets particularly closely and taken a range of emergency measures notably for the dairy sector and for fruit & vegetables, aimed at addressing market pressure, stabilising prices and finding alternative sales opportunities.
Allocations for these measures have primarily been based on previous exports to Russia. Some of these measures have been extended when necessary, like the safety net measures for dairy and fruit & vegetables, that will remain in place into 2016.
In order to find alternative markets outside the EU, the Commission has also offered additional promotion measures to support export diversification.
In some cases, specific support measures where approved for some Member States, like the dairy sector in the Baltic countries and Finland.
The Commission has also intensified bilateral trade negotiations, with a view to creating new market opportunities.
Also, together with Member States, the Commission has increased efforts to lift market barriers (in particular sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures) in third countries.
In spite of the Russian ban, global EU agri-food exports to third countries have performed well, increasing by 5,3 % in value in the period August 2014 - June 2015, compared to the same period of the previous year (these are the most recent available figures).
Major gains have been achieved in exports to the USA, China, Switzerland and other key Asian markets such as Hong Kong and South Korea.
Nevertheless, some sectors in some Member States remain under particular pressure. As before, the Commission continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to act in support of European farmers.
On 25 June 2015, Russia decided to prolong the ban until August 2016. At the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers on 13 July, Commissioner Phil Hogan commented: "It is indeed regrettable that the Russian authorities have taken a political decision to prolong the import ban for another year. Just as we did last year, it is important that the EU remains firm and sticks together."
This website provides a regular update on the latest trade and market data, details about the Commission measures taken so far, the different press releases published since the sanctions were first introduced, as well as an updated section for frequently asked questions.