Fruit cooperative demands compensation from EU
Industry lost millions of euros as a result of "Russian veto"
The cooperative Fruit de Ponent is calling on the European Commission for monetary and “moral compensation” due to the millions of euros in losses in 2014, and has taken the case to Luxembourg.
On Tuesday, the interests of its cooperative partners were defended before the General Court of the European Union. Due to the so-called “Russian veto” in 2014, fruit sellers suffered economically.
Reaction to sanctions
Sales decreased when Russia vetoed the import of fruit and vegetables from the European Union. This was a political reaction to European sanctions against the eastern country in response to the Crimean crisis.
Upon leaving the court, the general director of the cooperative group, Josep Presseguer, explained to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the bottom line of the law suit is a financial settlement of 312,434 euros, but they also demand “moral compensation.”
The industry was badly affected by the Russian veto on the import of fruit and vegetables from the EU according to Presseguer.
Victims of EU measures
The defence argued that the parties in question have been “victims” of measures and sanctions taken by Brussels.
For Presseguer, it is necessary to "recognize that things can be done better and that the European Commission (EC) has a duty of diligence in the face of its administrators." The situation should have been handled by Europe with “much more agility,” defending the interests of a sector that lost “millions of tonnes of fruit with fatal economic consequences,” he said.
"We would like the EC to clearly say that it acted poorly and that the sector deserves much more respect than what has been shown so far," he said.
The defence lawyer, Miquel Roca Junyent, said that the damages “must be taken care of by the EC.”
Presseguer affirmed that Tuesday's hearing was a "milestone" that puts closer to their goal, with a final sentence that could be reached, depending on judicial funds, in four, five or six months. The appeal was filed in 2016.
"We believed that we had to continue until the end because of the basic responsibility of a sector that has suffered a lot,” Presseguer stated.