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Demonstrators in Brussels have been calling on EU negotiators to do more to tackle financial speculation on food. Speculators have been blamed for pushing up prices and stoking shortages.

A protest was held outside the European Parliament on the opening day of talks on proposed financial reforms known as ‘MiFID’ (the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive).

The reforms could prevent banks and investors from using speculation techniques.

A 30,000 strong petition was handed over to German MEP Markus Ferber, who is leading on the legislation.

“For the moment, at European level, we don’t have any rules.Even the Unites States has now introduced a kind of position, a limit regime, and I think it’s time that Europe does the same,” said Ferber.

Campaigner Virgine Pissoort, from ‘SOS FAIM’ (SOS Hunger) added that a spate of food problems in recent years have highlighted the need to take action.

“There have been hunger riots and a food crisis in 2008, 2011 and 2012. That was because the prices of agricultural products internationally shot up significantly. A rise of more than 70 percent for corn, maize and rice,” “ she said.

Campaigners – dressed in corn-on-the-cob outfits – took to the streets in Brussels.

They were calling for a clampdown on the use of food for biofuels. Activists want products to power people rather than vehicles, to help ease world food shortages.

The action came ahead of a vote next week by MEPs on reform of the EU’s biofuels policy.

Euronews correspondent Marta Vivas Chamorro, in Brussels, concluded: “The activists asked MEPs to vote against using food for biofuels and pointed out that almost 900 million people go hungry each day around the world.”

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