Baltic and Finnish farmers seek EU help again
Agriculture associations in the Baltic states and in Finland have sent a joint letter to the European Commission, asking for help to deal with the impact of Russian ban on food imports. The new letter is not the first to be sent to the EU by the region's farmers.
The letter says that despite numerous promises of an imminent help, nothing has been done to alleviate the situation for Baltic and Finnish farmers, who have seen prices plummet after Russia imposed a ban on food imports.
The farmers said that they have no doubt the EU is united in its political will against Russia, but should also act united in easing the negative and disproportional effects on farmers and rural areas in the four nations, which all border Russia.
The ban has led to milk prices dropping to below cost price, but there are number of other factors that have hit the Baltics especially hard, such as the low level of EU direct aid to Baltic farmers, which is far lower than in most other EU nations; the African swine fever outbreak in the last few months; and the fact that Baltic nations are still recovering from the economic crisis and do not have the means to supplement EU financial aid to farmers.
The farmers said that additional aid for the four nations would not give them an unfair edge, but show solidarity.
Russia announced the import ban on meat, seafood, dairy products and produce, fruit, vegetable and other food products at the beginning of August in retaliation to Western sanctions on Russia.
In 2013, Estonia exported close to 200 million euros worth of food products to Russia, mostly drinks and beverages, dairy products and fish products. Indirect exports have also been hit, such as the sale of raw milk to Lithuania, which sold dairy products to Russia.