EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has confirmed that a compensation package has been agreed for the Baltic States, in the wake of Russia’s EU food import ban, that will not impact on the next year’s Single Farm Payment Budget.

“The decision reverses the thrust of the previous indicators from the Commission to the effect that money would be drawn down from the 2015 Pillar 1 budget in order to support those member states most badly affected by the Russian import ban.

“The reality is that the food industry in the Baltic States has lost 25% of its food export revenues in the wake of Russia’s decision. Everyone agrees that farmers and food companies in that region need support. Today’s decision will allow this to be achieved without impacting on farm incomes throughout the rest of the EU.”

Commissioner Hogan also reflected on the work he has been engaged in since taking up his new position, just over three weeks ago, and his priorities for the future.

“Next week will see the announcement of the EU’s €300 billion investment programme, designed to stimulate growth and job creation. In my capacity as agriculture commissioner I have been stressing the key role which the agri-food sectors can play in delivering large numbers of new jobs throughout the EU. I also believe that the measures to be announced over the coming days can have a beneficial impact on the future development of agri-food in Ireland.

“One of my key priorities moving forward will be to ensure a better balance within the agri-food supply chain, particularly where beef is concerned. I am deeply concerned that too much power lies in the hands of the supermarkets and, up to a point, the meat processors. And given this situation I will actively assess the feasibility of appointing an ombudsman for the EU’s agri-food sectors.”