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Latvian milk producers warn about possible protests in Brussels if no help comes from EU

October 31, 2014, 19:57 UTC+3 RIGA
Latvian milk producers may suffer losses of up to €20.9 million from the Russian food import ban which came as a response to western sanctions
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RIGA, October 31. /TASS/. Latvia’s milk producers who were hit by the Russian food export ban threaten to stage protest actions in Brussels if they get no financial aid the European Union has promised, Juris Lazdins, the President of the Farmers’ Parliament, said on Friday.

“This is an absurd situation. Farmers are always obliged to keep to the rules of the European Union but Europe is in no hurry to keep to its promises,” he said. “We expect quick actions from the new European commissioner for agriculture and rural development, we expect not just lofty words but material help.”

“Following Russia’s sanctions, procurement prices on milk dropped by an average of 25% on July 2014. According to estimates made by the ministry of agriculture, in the period from August to December, Latvian milk producers may suffer losses of up to €20.9 million from the Russian sanctions,” Krista Garkalne, a representative of the Latvian Council for Cooperation of Agricultural Organizations noted.

“Brussels should understand that Latvia is Russia’s closest neighbor. That is why Russia’s ban hits Latvian farmers more severely than others,” said Sandra Stricka of the same organization.

On August 7, Russia imposed a complete ban on exports of beef, pork, vegetables and fruit, poultry, fish, cheeses, milk and dairy products from the European Union countries, Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States. The move followed the West’s sanctions imposed against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

According to the European Commission, Russia’s ban affected mere 4.2% of the entire exports from the European Union countries worth five billion euro.

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