Tuesday April 25, Didzis Šmits, the Minister for Agriculture participated in the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries (Council) in Luxembourg where the situation on the market was discussed, particularly after invasion of Ukraine, amongst others, decisions made by some countries, banning imports of agricultural goods from Ukraine.
Didzis Šmits, the Minister for Agriculture: “We understand the difficult situation encountered by farmers in countries neighboring Ukraine. But in our opinion such extreme and unilateral decisions made by some Member States, banning imports of grain from Ukraine is not the solution. EU must continue supporting the economy of Ukraine. We must seek all the possible technical and structural solutions at the EU level, ensuring imports and transit of Ukraine’s agricultural goods particularly with a view to finding solution to global food safety problems. If a growing imports from Ukraine of some goods have a negative impact on farmers and food industry in Member States, then the EU-level support measures must be provided.”
Today, at the Council, based on the initiative of Latvian delegation, Didzis Šmits, the Minister for Agriculture, presented the joint position of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia on a possibly negative impact on exports of plant products by the new proposal from the European Commission (EC) on a sustainable use of plant protection products (PPP), it was supported in total by 17 Member States. The Minister for Agriculture pointed out that unfounded and insufficiently weighted decisions on a considerable reduction of PPP use will lead to a considerable reduction in food production and exports, will increase prices of food in the EU and enhance dependence on imports of food. In Latvia, as compared with other EU Member States, PPP is used in considerably lower amounts. According to the EC proposal, Latvia should reduce its PPP usage by about 60%
The Council, also considered the subject, raised by Latvia and Lithuania on the necessity to allocate an aid from the EU budget to milk sector, which is facing great difficulties. During the last year the sector has suffered from a rapid increase in prices of production resources, and in Latvia they still stay very high, at the same time milk purchase prices are disproportionally low and nothing indicates that they might increase in the near future. To improve the situation, the EU financial aid is necessary from the Agricultural Reserve of the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Taking into account that other Member States have also drawn attention of the European Commission to problems in different sectors, EC pointed out that it will continue analyzing situation on agricultural market as well as possibilities and justification for a possible allocation of the aid to Member States.