SPAIN is facing losses of more than €580 million following the new bans on exports to Russia.
Opposition groups, farmers’ unions and the Russian embassy produced the estimated figure, which makes up 1.8% of Spanish exports.
But the Spanish government disagrees, claiming the real figure is closer to €337 million.
Russia has retaliated to European sanctions imposed this month by announcing a ban on imports of food from the EU, US, Canada, Australia and Norway.
The ban includes meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and dairy products and small European farms are bearing the brunt.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy – following a meeting with King Felipe – said the new sanctions ‘will not help us’.
But he added that the ban would be ‘a stimulus, an incentive, for Spanish producers to keep working and contributing to Spain’s economic recovery’.
Spanish agriculture minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina has met with the European Commission in Brussels, prompted by Putin’s sanctions.
“The ministry will perform specific monitoring of each of the sectors to see how they evolve their markets and to ask, in the event of disruption, compensation for these measures from the European Union,” said Tejerina.
Miguel Padilla, head of Murcia-based agriculture and livestock association COAG, said: “Exporters have told us that some trucks in the EU are turning around right now because their orders have been cancelled.”
COAG, a major producer of fruit and vegetables in southern Spain annually exports more than 33 million directly to Russia, a key buyer of peaches, lettuces and cauliflowers.
It is predicted that Putin’s sanctions could cause losses of up to €12 billion across the EU.