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Call to triple state aid to fishermen

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Call to triple state aid to fishermen

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Italy and France have called for state aid for fishermen to be more than tripled, attracting positive signals from Brussels. They were among seven European Union countries, at a meeting in Venice, insisting on urgent action to help those holed by higher fuel prices.

Fisheries ministers from Spain, Slovenia, Greece, Portugal and Malta also said the industry needed help to cope with diesel prices that have risen 240 percent since 2004. The proposals will be tabled at a full EU ministerial meeting next Monday and Tuesday.

Rome and Paris want the EU to allow each fishing enterprise to receive up to 100,000 euros in state aid, spread over three years, without a national government facing scrutiny from European Commission market regulators. The permitted level now is 30,000 over three years.