Brussels has unveiled a drastic overhaul of a sugar policy which has pushed EU prices to several times the world market price with subsidies and price guarantees.
European sugar-beet farmers, their jobs threatened, have been out protesting against the Commission’s reform proposals. This was in Germany’s northern city of Rostock. Guaranteed prices on white sugar and beets could be looking at a roughly 40% cut.
Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said there was no alternative.
“We will be able to guarantee viable, sustainable, long term future European sugar production.”
EU producers unable to cope with lower revenues will be offered compensation.The plan will now be discussed by EU ministers.
But a group of 10 mostly Mediterranean countries led by Italy and Spain and backed up by four new member states have enough power under the EU’s weighted voting system to block a deal.
Producers in developing countries who benefit from the old regime said they too would lose jobs by the thousand.
The plan would start next year.