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Climate and farm Commissioners hammer home positions

brussels bureau

Climate and farm Commissioners hammer home positions


Denmark’s Connie Hedegaard, who struggled to chair the failed Copenhagen climate conference just a few weeks ago has said a lack of EU unity did not help. The Commissioner-designate for the new portfolio of climate action, was at a confirmation hearing in the European Parliament, on the eve of European Union ministers’ talks on a post-Copenhagen strategy.

Hedegaard said: “It was almost embarrassing that we did not get a European position on forestry up to COP15, just one example that we are really lagging behind.”

Agriculture was also reviewed. For this, Romania’s Dacian Ciolos took the podium. He said the bloc should continue using its budget and if possible increase for support to farmers. Countries such as France, Germany, Poland and Greece want this, while others such as Britain and Denmark want reductions.

Ciolos said: “We based direct payments in the past on historic references. I think we must take new realities into account and find criteria that makes for a more even distribution.”

He cited references to Greek farmers receiving nearly 600 euros per hectare of arable land, while those in Latvia get about 80 euros. Farmers from older EU member states want their benefits kept up. The newer ones feel theirs are being kept back.

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