Croatia has no big direct damage because of Russian embargo, says minister


Croatian farmers have not suffered big direct damage because of Russia’s embargo on the export of food from the European Union, but there has been considerable indirect damage because a good part of the products that used to be exported to Russia have stayed on the internal market, Foreign Minister Tihomir Jakovina said in Brussels on Monday.

He attended an extraordinary meeting of agriculture ministers convened because of the dairy and meat industry crisis, caused primarily by the Russian embargo on EU food exports.
Jakovina said Croatia’s direct damage was not big because its exports to Russia used to be small, “a little above 15 million euros,” but that “very big surpluses have remained on the European market. The EU exported EUR 12 billion to Russia and these goods have stayed on the internal market and many farmers have found themselves in big trouble because of price drops.”
The European Commission presented to the ministers a EUR 500 million aid package for farmers, of which the bulk will go to the dairy sector.
Jakovina said he informed his counterparts with Croatia’s positions on the import of Bosnian dairy products to the EU “and called on the Commission to review its position and acknowledge Croatia’s remarks, which go in two directions. One is respecting the highest sanitary and veterinary standards in facilities from which exports are made, which was required of us when we were granted export to the EU, and the other aspect refers to the fact that for more than two years BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has been refusing to negotiate the alignment of the SAA (Stabilisation and Association Agreement) and accept the traditional trade volume principle.”
Jakovina said Croatian exporters to BiH paid high duties and that BiH expected Croatia to fully open its borders to Bosnian products. “We want fair relations. All other CEFTA countries have negotiated SAA alignments, only BiH is refusing.”