Saturday

25th May 2019

EU farm subsidies under fire from Irish rock star

EU farm subsidies create unnecessarily high grocery prices for European consumers while depriving African farmers of their livelihood, a British daily announced on Tuesday (16 May) in a new campaign.

While British households pay an extra €1,222 a year for groceries due to EU trade-distorting subsidies to the union's own farmers, dumping of subsidised EU produce in African countries is forcing local producers out of business, The Independent reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Not only does the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) hit European shoppers in their pockets but strikes a blow against the heart of development in places like Africa," Claire Godfrey, trade policy adviser for Oxfam told the daily.

"The CAP lavishes subsidies on the UK's wealthiest farmers and biggest landowners at the expense of millions of poorest farmers in the developing world," she added in the first of a series of articles on Africa co-edited by Irish rock star and charity activist Bono.

The EU gives its farmers around €43 billion a year in subsidies and grants, with European cows receiving €3 a day each in subsides, making products such as bread, milk, sugar and chicken more expensive for European shoppers.

Meanwhile, African producers cannot export their products because the EU dumps unwanted goods in their markets at rock-bottom prices.

Sugar down, wine next

Lacking feasible arguments to support some heavily subsidised yet uncompetitive sectors of EU farming, EU agriculture ministers made a breakthrough deal in November last year.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) found EU member states guilty of dumping too much subsidised sugar in developing countries and undercutting local farmers.

The sentence led to a drastic EU agreement to cut sugar prices by nearly 40 percent and to let third world countries into the EU sugar market.

The European Commission also plans to cut the EU overproduction of wine taking out of use 400,000 of the 3.5 million hectares of EU winery land.

Getting rid of unsold, subsidised wine is costing the EU around €500 million per year, with the declining sector as a whole absorbing €1.3 billion of the EU's annual budget.

"We are spending too much money on distilling wine," agriculture commissioner Mariann Fisher-Boel said.

EU smashes 40 years of sugar protectionism

EU sugar prices will fall by 36 percent over the next four years under a surprise sugar deal reached by European agriculture ministers on Thursday.

EU top court backs Canada trade deal in ruling

The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that the EU-Canada free trade agreement, and its controversial dispute settlement mechanism, is in line with the bloc's rules.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  2. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  3. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  4. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  5. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  6. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  7. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'
  8. EU sanctions regime cannot be an 'EU Magnitsky Act'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us