The €5 million support Slovak farmers will be compensated for the losses they incurred following the recent influx of agricultural goods from Ukraine is small compared to the actual calculated loss of €200 million, Slovakia’s Agriculture Minister Jozef Bíreš said on Wednesday.
On Monday, member states greenlighted the €100 million compensation package for the five states – including Slovakia – that decided to enact unilateral bans on Ukrainian agricultural goods in April – before the EU issued its own regional import ban.
Slovakia got the smallest cut, while Bulgaria is set to receive €10 million, Hungary €16 million, Romania €30 million and Poland €40 million.
However, Bíreš is now arguing it is not nearly enough, calling the sum “laughable”.
“The Slovak Republic estimates the damage caused by increased imports of agri-commodities from Ukraine, combined with the overall difficult situation of our growers, who established their crops last year with increased inputs and a drop in realisation prices, at approximately €200 million,” the ministry explained in a statement to EURACTIV Slovakia.
The estimated sum would be almost half of the EU’s yearly budget for the crisis in agricultural markets, which stands at €460 million – a sum member states are welcome to double using their budgets, though it would still not be “sufficient to cover all the damage”.
Slovakia is unlikely to see any more money from the reserve fund, as the Commission announced the rest of this year’s reserve, topped by €80 million from next year’s, will go to the other 22 member states.
The regional EU ban should be in force until 15 September, though Slovakia is eager to extend the ban. Bíreš has discussed the issue with Ukraine’s neighbouring countries.
“We would be comfortable with an extension of this measure. For one thing, the harvest is about to start and if these imports are uncontrolled, it would obviously damage the situation of grain growers. Also, for the reason that if the price remains at the current level, they will think very hard about whether to establish another crop,” the agriculture minister said.
“We must take every opportunity to extend this measure,” he said, adding that he is open to helping Ukraine, but not if it “deforms” Slovakia’s market.
(Barbara Zmušková, Marián Koreň | EURACTIV.sk)
Read more with EURACTIV
‘Lublin Triangle’ gathers in Kyiv to prepare for NATO summit