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Newsline: EU Plans To Counter Russia With Food Diplomacy

The EU aims to address rising wheat and fertilizer prices and expected shortages in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East with “food diplomacy” to counter Russia’s narrative on the impact of its Ukraine invasion, EU diplomats and officials say. Food insecurity was causing “resentment” in vulnerable countries in these regions, while Moscow was portraying the crisis as a consequence of Western sanctions on Russia, one European Union diplomat said. This posed a potential threat to EU influence, the diplomat said, which it plans to tackle with “food diplomacy and a battle of narratives”. (https://www.ibtimes.com/eu-plans-counter-russia-food-diplomacy-north-africa-balkans-3471278) President Vladimir Putin said last week that the West’s sanctions against Russia had fomented a global food crisis and spiralling energy prices. EU neighbours, particularly Egypt and Lebanon, are highly dependent on wheat and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia. They face a price spike after a drop in supplies since Moscow began what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine. “We cannot take the risk of losing the region,” a second European diplomat added. The 27-member bloc also wants to boost international efforts to mitigate the impact of shortages and will together with the U.N. World Food Programme announce new initiatives on Tuesday. EU officials say French diplomats have considered the setting up of a global food distribution mechanism for poorer nations, while Hungary has suggested boosting the EU’s agricultural output by altering its climate goals.

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