By Constantinos Psillides
CYPRUS has put in a request to the EU for the Agriculture and Fisheries ministerial council to convene and assess the situation in Europe following the Russian food embargo, according to government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.
Christodoulides issued a statement yesterday explaining that Cyprus was requesting of the ministerial council to examine the negative effects the embargo has on EU member-states.
“The EU is called upon to assess the effects the embargo had on each country individually, while at the same time taking into consideration any special circumstances,” read Christodoulides statement.
An extraordinary meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries council has already been called at the request of Austria, to study the effects of drought on an EU level.
Other countries have also publicly expressed interested in seeing the EU deal with the Russian embargo, including Greece and France.
While citrus farmers in Cyprus – who were the ones most affected by the embargo, to the tune of €10.7 million – requested on Tuesday that Cyprus separate its position from that of the rest of the EU and seek exemption from the embargo, the government is more likely to try and secure compensation.
Russia announced the import ban on EU food products last week in response to the tightened EU sanctions implemented at the end of July against Russia for their involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
A meeting called on Tuesday at the request of Agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis concluded that besides seeking compensation from the EU, Cyprus would also look into alternative markets.
Farmers unions stand behind the government’s attempt at securing compensation for both the drought and the embargo but dismiss the idea of looking into alternative markets. Union representatives from PEK, EKA, and the producers union argued that they would have to sell at very low prices, warning that more than 2,500 families would be affected if the situation drags on.