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  • 29 August 2014

    Security crises in the European Union’s Southern and Eastern neighbourhood, particularly the situation in Ukraine and new destabilising actions by Russia, dominated the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Gymnich format, which started in Milan on Monday.

    “The summit starts at a very difficult moment. What we’re dealing withis such a security threat that I can’t think of since the collapse of communism,” stressed Minister Sikorski in an interview ahead of the talks.

    The meeting in Milan could not have gone without Polish apples. Delegates who have come for debates had a chance to taste this Polish fruit. Minister Sikorski also distributed Polish apples among the journalists. Gifts of apples were also given to the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Lady Ashton, and the chief of Italian diplomacy, Federica Mogherini.


     The journalists had an opportunity to taste Polish apples. Photo: PAP / Paweł Supernak

    According to the most recent data published this April by theMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Polandthis year surpassed China in terms of apple exports, becoming the biggest global supplier of this fruit. In the 2012/13 season apple exportsstood at 1.2m tonnes and were worth EUR 438m. Last year, the largest importers of Polish apples were: Russia, with 677,000 tonnes at EUR 256m (56% of the entire apple exports), Belarus, with 145,000 tonnes atEUR 45.5m, Germany, with66,800 tonnes at EUR 18m, and Ukraine, with 53,000tonnes at EUR 17.5m.

    Unfortunately, Polish fruit farmershave been put in a very difficult situation following the Russian embargoand are forced to look for new outlets for Polish fruits. There are also campaigns in gestures of solidarity with the Polish farmers. We encourage you to join in with the promotion of Polish apples abroad in your communitiesand on the internet (Facebook, Twitter).

    Meetings in the Gymnich format, traditionally held half-yearly during each EU presidency, are characterised by a free and deep exchange of views on issues of particular relevance to EU external relations. Its meetings – unlike those of the Foreign Affairs Council – do not lead toagreeing on any formal decisions. The word “Gymnich”comes from the name of a castle near Bonn, which hosted the first meeting of that type during the German presidency in 1974.



    Marcin Wojciechowski

    MFA Press Spokesman



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