7 February 2013
Julie Girling (ECR)
I understand that having eliminated ‘European refunds’ on eggs and egg products, the Commission has negotiated a deal with Ukraine, a non-EU Member State, to allow it to export eggs and egg products into the EU at zero tax. Egg producers in Ukraine do not comply with EU regulations on the welfare of battery hens.
Can the Commission confirm if this is in fact correct?
If so, could it clarify why a non-EU Member State has been given such a dispensation, which is putting consumers at risk of unknowingly purchasing ‘low-welfare eggs’?
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Answer given by Mr Ciolos on behalf of the Commission
27 March 2013
The Commission finalised negotiations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine last year. However, the Agreement has not been signed yet. The draft Agreement foresees a zero duty access for eggs and egg products only within the limits of 3 000 tonnes for egg products and 3 000 tonnes for eggs in shell.
Under the SPS chapter of the Agreement, the Ukrainian authorities committed to approximate, among others, the EU legislation on animal welfare after an interim period. However, for the duration of the interim period, equivalence with EU animal welfare legislation will not be a precondition to export to the EU the quantities of eggs and egg products within preferential trade.
The reduction of refunds for EU exports and the market access for eggs and egg products from Ukraine into the EU are not linked. The export refunds for egg products are fixed regularly every three months taking into account the market situation. In a market situation with high prices, the use of refunds is not needed as it was required in the past to assure market balance. Thus, the EU has reduced the export refunds for certain egg products successively over the last year.