Agri co-ops seek more EU support to cope with impact of Ukrainian exports

Copa and Cogeca joined five other organisations for a meeting with the European commissioner for agriculture

European farmer organisations and co-ops met with the European commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, on 10 January to discuss the impact of imports from Ukraine on their sector.

The meeting was attended by representatives from six organisations, including Copa and Cogeca, the voice of farmers and their co-operatives in the EU.

“What is happening in Ukraine is intolerable and, as the EU, it is our duty and our interest to continue supporting them,” they said. “We thus, as producers, are ready to continue doing our part in the EU efforts to help Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, we believe that this effort is currently inequitably shared, with the agricultural sector bearing a disproportionate and unsustainable burden. We fear that if the Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) mechanism with Ukraine is maintained in its current form, with no adaptation, the survival of EU producers in general, and especially for the cereals, oil seeds, poultry, eggs, and sugar sectors, will be at stake as will be the unwavering support to Ukraine.

“We do not want to be the reason for the discord and the wavering of such support; hence, we aim to propose and find constructive solutions that can aid farmers on both sides and provide a working arrangement. We also believe that it is essential to propose an EU-level solution to this issue to preserve EU unity and the integrity of the EU Single Market.”

During the meeting, the six organisations presented a range of measures they believe will support their members to cope with the impact of the imports. 

These included reinforcing international efforts to facilitate the flow of goods from the Black Sea ports so that they once again become the main export channel; additional investments to improve logistics and infrastructure to enable the Solidarity Lanes to function properly and increase their number so that goods can flow easily to where they are needed; and additional efforts to ensure that the products entering the internal market comply with the required phytosanitary standards, animal welfare standards and use of antimicrobials by reinforcing border controls.

They also called for the creation of a system to make sure that the destination for all consignments of Ukrainian agricultural products is determined before they enter into the EU, the introduction of a system to guarantee that the Ukrainian products reach this destination determined prior entry in the EU and do not end up elsewhere, for example, through the use of a deposit system and import thresholds for sensitive agricultural commodities covered by the six associations and subject to trade liberalisation which is based on the yearly average for the combined years 2021 and 2022. 

“We believe that these mechanisms are a constructive way forward to maintain trade flows, protect EU producers, help Ukrainian producers to diversify their exports, re-establish old trading routes and limit their dependency on the EU market,” they said in a statement.