EU crisis fund limited open to damage from Ukraine support

The European Commission has proposed a limited opening of the agricultural crisis fund of 450 million euros to farmers affected by EU measures in favor of Ukrainian agricultural exports.

For the time being, only grain producers in Poland, Bulgaria and Romania are eligible for around 56 million euros in compensation. Their national governments may double that amount. 

The calculations are based on large deviations over the past five years between grain imports and exports compared to the EU average. For many other applicants, the differences (read: loss of turnover) are too small. Farmers in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia had also requested EU emergency aid. The European agricultural umbrella organizations Copa and Cosega consider the currently proposed regulation to be far too limited, and moreover incidental.

By transporting a large part of the Ukrainian grain production 'overland' to Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian ports, part of it ends up in Ukrainian neighboring countries, putting prices on the local grain markets under severe pressure. There the warehouses are full of corn, wheat and sunflowers. 

In addition, French, Italian and Spanish poultry farmers are complaining about the collapse of their chicken meat market because the EU temporarily abolished export quotas and taxes for Ukrainians. These countries are also calling for a compensation scheme. Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said on Monday in Brussels at the monthly LNV ministerial meeting that the fund is too small for such a broad approach.

In the Agriculture Council, other EU member states also asked for support in vain. Milk prices have fallen drastically in Latvia and Lithuania. The ministers of the Baltic Sea countries warned of closures at dairy farmers. Italy wants compensation payments because of the avian flu. France and Spain pointed to the economic difficulties of their wine producers.