27 February 1998
Spanish olive oil farmers protest against subsidy reform

FARMERS from the south of Spain will begin protests today against threatened changes to the European Union olive oil subsidy regime.

The farmers fear the changes could devastate their industry.

Subsidies account for more than one-third of the total value of production. Olives are the only viable crop in many parts of the south and the trade is crucial to employment.

The campaign will reach a climax in time for formal European Commission proposals, due on March 18, for reforming the $2 billion (£1.2bn) a year aid system.

Spain argues aid should reflect productivity and continue to be geared to output levels instead of tree counts or farm areas.

  • Financial Times 27/02/98 page 2