Subsidies to EU tobacco farmers ratified - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet

SUBSCRIBE NOW

sub_ad_img

Subsidies to EU tobacco farmers ratified

17 February 1998
Subsidies to EU tobacco farmers ratified

EUROPEAN tobacco farmers will reap about £658 million in subsidies this year, despite the fact that 80% of the EU crop is of poor quality and virtually unsaleable.

    Read more on:
  • News

Subsidies to EU tobacco farmers ratified

17 February 1998
Subsidies to EU tobacco farmers ratified

By Boyd Champness

EUROPEAN tobacco farmers will reap about £658 million in subsidies this year, despite the fact that 80% of the EU crop is of poor quality and virtually unsaleable.

In fact, undiscerning countries prepared to take low-grade tobacco are the only markets available for the bulk of the EU crop.

Nevertheless, European farm ministers meeting in Brussels today have ratified huge subsidy payouts to keep EU tobacco production going. This is despite claims made by health campaigners that the European Commission spends more on propping up the deadly industry than it does on anti-smoking campaigns.

A Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods spokeswoman said, although the UK would like to see complete reform of the European industry, its “hands were tied”.

“Our only supporter is Sweden, so obviously we are not going to win at the moment because other countries still have producer interests,” she said.

In total, there are eight EU tobacco producing countries with Italy and Greece the largest, followed by Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and Austria.

Complete reform of the tobacco industry looks unlikely while there are still so many producer countries. European farm council proposals are decided by a simple majority, meaning opponents to the industry need eight out of 15 votes to demand reform.

However, two minor reforms were passed today which the UK sees as useful steps in eventually getting the regime abolished.

EU farm ministers supported a clause that payments should mirror crop quality, and they also endorsed a quota buy-back scheme which should encourage people to leave the industry.

    Read more on:
  • News
blog comments powered by Disqus