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At the Friday sitting of the European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC), dairy and fishing industries raised their concerns for the future of the sectors in view of the ban on import set by Russia. However, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship Anne Sulling and a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed the schedule for paying out EU assistance.

“The ban on import set by Russia was an unforeseeable force majeure for the businesses. EUR 0.25 for a litre of milk means crisis for the farmers. Entrepreneurs need flexibility in using EU assistance in crisis situations, as well as the readiness of the state to launch the measures already within this year,” said the Chairman of the EUAC Kalle Palling.

According to Anne Sulling, Enterprise Estonia (EAS) has planned additional funds for exporters from the funds of the previous EU budgetary period as a response to the impact of the Russian crisis. The volume of promotional trips, joint entry of selected companies to target markets (so-called export bulldozers programmes), and export advisers will be increased. Export partners search services in markets with no EAS representation will also be provided sooner than planned. The state thus strongly promotes the forging of contacts by entrepreneurs in foreign markets.

Sulling stresses that entrepreneurs must show initiative so that the state could lend a helping hand. Export should, in her opinion, concentrate on products that offer higher added value and can be sold directly to the end user. This also demands product development.

All the measures that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications directs into supporting export are also open to food industry. At the same time, EAS assistance does not cover the fishery sector. Agriculture in a broader sense is supported by measures of the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, the assistance for the previous period of the Rural Life Development Plan is currently paid from PRIA. EU 2014–2020 budgetary period assistance will open next year. The Ministry of Agriculture has also proposed paying top-up or transition assistance, but this is currently in the stage of assessment of principles and planning of financial instruments.

Representatives of the Estonian Dairy Association, dairy companies AS Saaremaa Piimatööstus and Saaremaa DeliFood, Estonian Association of Fishery, and fish company Morobell OÜ also took part in the meeting.

Photos of the sitting

Video of the sitting

The Riigikogu Press Service