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Given the political stance taken by the EU in pushing for a trade deal with Ukraine and in their subsequent backing of sanctions against Russia, EU farmers and food processors should not now be expected to bear the brunt of the cost of the Russian ban on food imports, stated Bertie O’Leary, President of ICOS, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society, when commenting on the current impact of the ban on food markets and specifically its impact on global dairy markets.

ICOS, Mr O’Leary commented, has been lobbying the European Commission to look at all possible tools available to underpin the EU dairy market. He welcomed the fact that Dairy is now finally going to be focused on at a meeting in Brussels this Thursday, the 28th of August. Mr O’Leary repeated earlier ICOS calls for the Commission to immediately commit to the following actions:

The opening of maximum Private Storage Aid options, as provided for in the new Single Common Market Organisation, to add stability to the market.

  1. The increasing of all avenues of support to help EU dairy companies to gain access to alternative markets around the world
  2. The introduction of fat correction factors on delivered milk. ICOS has continually advocated for this, ensuring that superlevy costs are minimised
  3. That the EU does not use the ‘Crisis Reserve’ as this is EU agriculture’s own money in direct payments and will be taken off farmers. The EU must support the consequences of their own political decisions from elsewhere in the budget
  4. Current superlevy fines taken by the Commission for the 2013/14 quota year should be immediately ring fenced and used specifically to help the current dairy situation
  5. A careful economic analysis is required as to the merits of re-introducing export refunds, to see can they help alleviate the current situation, and assist in the orderly disposal of mounting EU cheese stocks from the marketplace
  6. Ensure that there are no delays in the issuing of export certificates for dairy product

Mr O’Leary concluded by re-iterating that the cost of funding the market consequences of the EU stance should come from outside the current CAP budget, in  view of the geo political nature of the stance taken by the EU on relations with the Ukraine.

ICOS – the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society represents co-operatives and organisations in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.


Information: Cian Connaughton, 087 6480809