* EU agricultural exports to Russia total 11 bln euros
* EU emergency reserve holds around 420 mln euros
* EU agricultural ministers to assess impact on Sept. 5
BRUSSELS, Aug 28 The European Commission
announced financial support for exporters of dairy products hit
by Russia's ban on Western food imports, adding to emergency
measures already taken to help fruit and vegetable producers.
Moscow this month imposed a one-year embargo on meat, fish,
dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European
Union, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for Western
economic sanctions over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine
Agricultural experts from all 28 EU countries have held a
series of crisis talks, and agricultural ministers will meet on
Sept. 5 to address the issues of finding alternative markets and
Following the latest internal meeting, the Commission, the
EU executive, said on Thursday it would pay towards storage
costs for taking surplus products off the market for three to
The support will cover butter, skimmed milk power and
certain cheeses. The choice of precisely which ones is still
under debate as not all are suitable for the storage, which can
alleviate the supply glut.
"Price signals on the European dairy market show that the
Russian ban is starting to hit this sector," EU Agriculture
Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said.
"In a number of member states, export earnings are being
lost and new outlets need to be found. The European dairy sector
needs time and help to adapt."
The Commission did not specify the amount of money being set
aside for the dairy sector. EU officials, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said such measures would have a potential cost of
10 million to 20 million euros.
Earlier this month, the Commission announced it would
provide up to 125 million euros to EU farmers to help them cope
with a glut of fruit and vegetables, then seen as the most
Under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy, the
Commission has a total pot of some 420 million euros to
compensate for market disruption.
Producers say the fund will not be enough to offset the
Finnish dairy cooperative Valio alone estimates that it
stands to lose 240 million euros' worth of exports to Russia.
In all, EU farm exports to Russia are worth around 11
billion euros annually, or roughly 10 percent of all EU
Of this, Russia imported EU dairy products worth some 2.3
billion euros in 2013.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; additional reporting by Francesco
Guarascio; editing by Jane Baird)