Lithuania seeks $57 million from EU for farms hit by low milk price, Russia ban
Dairy farmers across the European Union are being squeezed by a global fall in milk prices, coupled with the Russian import ban which was imposed last year after the bloc hit Moscow with economic sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
German dairy farmers launched a nine-day protest on Monday, while their counterparts in Britain and Belgium have also demonstrated in recent weeks. The issue is due to be discussed at a special meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels on September 7.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said that exports of milk and dairy products had declined by 34 per cent in his country, calling the situation "critical."
He was visiting Brussels with Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitiene for talks with EU Acriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.
Later, Hogan was due to meet Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma and Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs.
Moscow‘s food ban, first implemented in August 2014, has targeted fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy.
The EU is already supporting the dairy sector, which has also been negatively affected by a slowdown in Chinese imports, through public purchases of butter and skimmed milk, as well as funds to help cover the costs of putting products into storage for later sales.
The European Commission has also been supporting the European fruit sector, and proposed in July to extend all measures through to next year. ■