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French farmers protest in Paris

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French farmers protest in Paris
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Thousands of French farmers are protesting in Paris today to call for more financial aid to help them through the economic downturn.

Falling prices and rising costs mean many are struggling to make ends meet. They want President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene as they say they could go out of business.

One protesting farmer, Bruno Haas, said: “Our costs are exploding even though prices are falling. Our revenue is being absolutely crippled and we t the government to do something to help us in this difficult time.”

Yet direct aid looks unlikely. The French public deficit currently stands at a record 7.5 percent, twice the amount allowed under EU rules.

Paris is already the biggest beneficiary of the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy. France currently swallows up 20 percent of the bloc’s 40-billion-euro farming subsidies.

The French government has offered tax breaks and interest-free loans to the farmers but that has failed to quell the discontent.