THE European Bank For Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is partly owned by the EU, is to help fund poultry integrator MHP’s purchase of Perutnina Ptuj.

The loan, according to the EBRD, will “support MHP Group’s strategy to expand its operations in the EU and other countries with the aim to become a multinational producer”.

Avec, which represents European poultry producers, has written to Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen seeking clarity over the move, noting that the EBRD, “is financed by the EU at a level of €900m and the European Investment Bank (EIB) at a similar level of €900m, (without mentioning the significant contribution from Member States)”.

The letter also mentions a loophole that allows Ukrainian producers to export poultrymeat to Europe tariff-free.

‘Waiting anxiously’

“While our members are waiting anxiously for the results of the aforementioned negotiations, you may easily understand their reaction when they learn that EU taxpayer money is used to facilitate the development and the acquisition of an EU poultry company on the EU territory, by a Ukrainian company, which has largely benefited from the loophole in the DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement).”

It is understood that negotiations on the DCFTA have been reopened to close the loophole, but that in itself may require further concessions over import quotas.

The EBRD was established to aid development in Eastern Europe following the cold war.