EU pledges to raise E.coli aid offer to farmers

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EU pledges to raise E.coli aid offer to farmers

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EU agriculture ministers told the European Commission on Tuesday to stump up more cash to compensate farmers affected by the E.coli outbreak.

The EU’s executive arm initially offered a fund of 150 million euros intended to cover less than a third of farmers’ lost revenues.

Spanish Agriculture Minister Rosa Aguilar Rivero told euronews that this fell well short of adequately compensating growers affected by the crisis and that 30 percent ceiling placed on claims was “unacceptable.”

She added that the Commission should come back with a bigger offer.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos pledged to up the offer but warned that full compensation – as sought by Spain – was unlikely.

“We must understand that the commission wanted to take a quick decision and we did not want to hang about, so we used the available data to make this proposal,” said Ciolos.

“I now have new information on market conditions. On this basis and on the basis of these discussions (on Tuesday), we will improve the offer but within the limits of our available budget.”

For any more money to be released to farmers, there will need to be an agreement between the 27 member states.

The European Commission is set to chair a meeting next week with EU agricultural officials.