Russia's sanctions threaten both EU farmers and policymakers

Russia's food import ban has become a big problem for Europe's farmers, and its central bank policymakers. From Polish apples to French pork and Greek peaches, exporters to Russia may either have to slash prices, or destroy their own produce.

As the European Union's second biggest apple producer, Poland has some 700,000 tonnes of the fruit it usually sells to Russia but can't, because Moscow has a food embargo on many EU and US goods as part of tit-for-tat sanctions related to the Ukraine crisis.

On 7 August, Russia banned all meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetable imports from the EU, the US Norway, Canada, and Australia for one year to retaliate against Western sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Many of the Polish apples will inevitably head for western Europe, potentially displacing their more expensive European rivals. Others will go to markets in Asia and the Middle East, traditionally supplied by EU countries such as France. It is just about the last thing that the European Central Bank wants to see as it struggles with a flatlining economy and worries about deflation.

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