The European Commission intends to adopt additional emergency market measures for perishable fruit & vegetables in response to the market disturbances resulting from the Russian ban on imports of certain EU agricultural products. The additional measure will run until the end of June 2015. The scheme provides for new eligible volumes of certain fruit and vegetables in specific Member States that may be withdrawn from the market. The quantities will be based on export volumes for this period in the last 3 years to Russia.
Commenting on the proposals today, EU agricultural commissioner Phil Hogan stated: "The emergency measures have helped ease the market pressure for fruit and vegetable growers following the Russian ban. However, a downward pressure on prices persists for some products in some regions of the EU. Therefore it is necessary to provide continued support for the sector also in the New Year, as a safety net for growers who have not been able to find alternative outlets so far."
As the current exceptional support programme expires on 31 December 2014, this additional scheme foresees EU support until 30 June 2015. The eligible measure are withdrawals for free distribution (which is 100% EU-funded), withdrawals for non-food use (e.g. composting), where the rate of EU support is lower, as well as the option of green-harvesting or non-harvesting, with a support level slightly lower still. As previously, the measures will also be available for producers who are not members of producer organisations (PO), but the level of EU funding is higher for PO members (75% of the figure foreseen, compared to 50% for non-members). Member of Producer Organisations receive a further (25%) top-up from the operational fund of the Producer Organisation.
The new scheme will add an annex with specific volumes for the period from January to June 2015, for the 12 Member States which exported most fruit & vegetables to Russia on average during the January-May period (April to May for certain fruit where the January to March period was already covered by the previous measure) during the last three years.
These additional measures should be seen together with the measures under Regulation 1031/2014 (ending on 31 December 2014).Total expenditure of the support under the existing measure and the new scheme would remain below the total of € 165 million initially estimated as maximum expenditure under Regulation 1031/2014.
For more on the Commission response to the Russian crisis, see