Press information

Monday, December 11, the Minister for Agriculture, Armands Krauze, in Brussels, at the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries (Council), repeatedly asked Ministers of the EU Member States and the European Commission (EK) to start discussing the ban on Russia’s imports of grain and other agricultural products to European Union because by supporting entering of Russia’s grain on the EU market, the EU actually is supporting Russia’s economy and its ability to continue the war in Ukraine.

Latvia is asking to start immediately working on the ban of imports of Russia’s grain and other agricultural products. This is the choice of European Union - not to support Russia’s economy, not to finance Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as to stop helping distribution of the grain stolen in Ukraine”, Armands Krauze, the minister for Agriculture pointed out in his statement.

The Minister for Agriculture also emphasized that the growing imports of Russia’s grain at their low prices is destabilizing the EU grain market because Russia’s cheap goods are competing with grain products grown in EU both on the local and export market. Therefore, EC must at last assess the impact of imports of Russia’s agricultural goods on the EU local market. At the same time, transit produce, intended for countries outside EU, to provide their inhabitants with food, should be continued.

The currently enforced EU sanctions against Russia do not apply to agricultural products and food. Now, neither EU nor Latvian regulatory acts restrict imports of food, including grain, from Russia and transport within EU. According to data of the border control of the Food and Veterinary Service in 11 months of 2023 imported from Russia to Latvia were 383 thousand tons of food grain. Moreover, EU by August 2023 has imported from Russia by 30% more of wheat and corn than in the same period in 2022.

At the Council, the Ministers of Member States also discussed the experience, gained during the first year of implementation of the Strategy Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP SP). The Minister for Agriculture, Armands Krauze emphasized that setting up of higher basic requirements and ambitions has created a disproportional bureaucratic and administrative burden, giving rise for a justified negative response from farmers as in general, the aid does not cover the cost of meeting the basic requirements. Besides in the programming period 2023-2027, the funding allocated to Latvia for rural development is reduced but the proportion of climate and environment objectives has increased. To make up for it, all the possible resources must be mobilized for rural development.

Armands Krauze: “At such a detailed and complicated model, there are great uncertainties as to the essence of some requirements, their necessity and a real outcome of their practical implementation. Achievement of the new objectives is conditional on an adequate funding and if a certain flexibility is ensured for their implementation, taking account of regional differences as well as the policy simplification is being implemented at last, which do not require the programming documents on thousands of pages as it is now.”

Dagnija Muceniece

Head of Division
Dagnija.Muceniece [at]