Dacian Ciolos, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, has called for a meeting of agricultural experts across Europe to discuss a the Russian ban on european food and look at possible supports.

The Commissioner said today that he understands the concerns expressed in the EU farming sector after Russia announced a ban on European food stuffs this week. However, he said any response must be ‘proportionate’. He is establishing a Task Force to look at the potential impacts on each sector and to look at ways and means of supporting the affected sectors.

“I want to underline that the Common Agricultural Policy has new and modernised tools to stand by them, as soon as it is needed, including our crisis reserve, which is already available now. I am confident that our resilient farm sector will reorient rapidly towards new markets and opportunities. But there must be support to help this transition happen smoothly.

“This requires a joined up, European response. I have spoken with Farm Ministers from across Europe, and in particular the Italian Farm Minister and Council President. In the current context, the most important is to react in a proportionate and rapid way should the situation arise.

“As always when market situations require, I have already instructed my services to establish a Task Force to analyse the potential impacts sector by sector, and to assess how we can effectively provide meaningful support if and where this is needed. Second, my services will today call a meeting of senior agricultural experts from all EU Member States, to take place next Thursday.“

Earlier this week Russia announced a ban on all beef, pork, poultry, fish, dairy, cheese and vegetables from the EU and other countries including the US, Australia and Canada.